Danske PEP III holds €311m first close

The private equity arm of Denmark’s Danske Bank Group has held an interim closing on its third fund of funds targeting Western European and North American mid-market buyout and venture managers.

Danske Private Equity, the Copenhagen-based private equity investor, has reached a first close on €311 million ($366 million) for its third fund of funds, Danske Private Equity Partners III.

Danske Private Equity Partners III has a target of €550 million, and has set a final closing date of September 2006, according to Dan Kjerulf, a partner at Danske Private Equity.

Kjerfulf: casting net wider for investors in fund III

Kjerulf told PEO that commitments had been received “purely from Nordic investors” but that the firm is hoping to “expand from there and build on the base that we have”.

The firm will initially look at adding clients in Western Europe, but other regions would also be considered. “We started out in our home market where we know everybody and they know us quite well, but we will be casting our net a bit wider than in Fund II, so we look forward to seeing how that will play out,” said Kjerfulf.

Danske PEP II held a final close on €550 million in September 2004, the same size as the vintage 2001 first fund. Both PEP I and PEP II are now fully invested in 15 partnerships each, according to the firm.

The new fund will follow the same strategy of Danske’s first two funds of funds, investing in privately-held small and mid-size companies through a portfolio of middle market buyout and venture funds in North America and Western Europe.

Danske PEP II invested in North American Leonard Green Partners’ $1.85 billion (€1.57 billion) buyout fund; Italian firm B&S Private Equity’s €550 million IPEF IV; MPM Bioventures III, a $900 million life science fund; and Nordic Capital V, a €1.5 billion pan-Nordic buyout fund.

Kjerulf said that the new fund is in the process of investing in several funds currently, and expects to make an announcement of a first commitment “very shortly”.

Founded in January 2000, Danske Private Equity currently has over €1.4 billion under management and eight investment professionals in its Copenhagen office.