Clessidra to close €800m fund by 30 Nov – Exclusive

Now that the Bank of Italy has authorised the acquisition of the Milan-based private equity firm by Italmobiliare, Clessidra is preparing for a final close of its latest buyout fund.

Clessidra expects to close its third buyout fund by 30 November, and is confident about meeting its €800 million target, a person close to the situation told Private Equity International on Wednesday.

In addition, the Bank of Italy has now authorised the €20 million acquisition of the Milan-based private equity firm by investment holding company Italmobiliare, Clessidra said in a statement. The agreement to acquire Clessidra was signed on 9 May; Italmobiliare, a Milan-based firm controlled by the Pesenti family, now holds 99 percent of Clessidra’s capital.

Clessidra’s third fund, Clessidra Capital Partners III, was originally expected to close by the first half of 2016. The regulator’s approval of the Italmobiliare acquisition will allow Clessidra to complete its fundraising and secure its future following the loss of founder, president and chief executive Claudio Sposito, who died in January after a short illness.

There had been some upheaval at Clessidra in the aftermath of Sposito's death, as the board sought to put a succession plan in place. An earlier attempt by the management to buy the business failed in March when Francesco Trapani, who was chairman at the time, dropped his bid to acquire a majority stake, saying in a statement that Clessidra's owners were no longer willing to keep to the terms of an understanding that had been agreed upon several weeks before.

On July 15, investors in Clessidra’s latest fund voted with a 90 percent majority to approve the key executives who will lead the firm's operations, and to extend the fundraising deadline to 30 November, which provided a way forward for the firm as it awaited regulatory authorisation for its change in ownership.

Clessidra also announced a new board of directors on Wednesday. The chairman is now Carlo Pesenti, the chief executive of Italmobiliare; he replaces Trapani, who has left the firm. Mario Fera is now chief executive, succeeding Piero Alonzo.

Other members of the board of directors include Riccardo Bruno, Manuel Catalano, Federico Ghizzoni, Alessandra Manuli, and Galeazzo Pecori Giraldi. A new board of statutory auditors was also appointed, comprising chairman Marina Brogi, Francesco Di Carlo, and Alessandro Grange.

Clessidra manages about €2 billion in assets through private equity funds that focus on the Italian market, targeting medium to large-sized companies with an approximate enterprise value of between €200 million and €1.5 billion and significant prospects for growth.

Italmobiliare manages an investment and equity portfolio worth more than €1.6 billion. It acquired Clessidra as part of its efforts to diversify this portfolio and develop its operations in private equity.