Darwin Private Equity seals first exit

The UK-based lower mid-market firm has sold sports nutrition company Maxinutrition for £162m. Darwin acquired the business for £75m in 2007.

Darwin Private Equity has entered into an agreement to sell European sports nutrition company Maxinutrition to GlaxoSmithKline for £162 million (€192 million; $257 million).

The deal marks the first exit for the UK-based lower mid-market investor, which purchased Maxinutrition for £75 million in December 2007. The investment came from Darwin’s maiden fund, which closed in August 2008 on £217 million, just short of its original £250 million target. The fund invests in UK-based companies valued at between £10 million and £100 million. 

Limited Partners in Darwin’s debut fund, roughly half of which are UK-based, include AIG Investments, Goldman Sachs and Pantheon. Darwin was advised on the sale by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Macfarlanes.

Darwin invests in the consumer, media and technology, industrial, financial and business services sectors. The firm was founded in March 2007 by former CVC Capital Partners executive Jonathan Kaye and former Permira executives Derek Elliott and Kevin Street.

Darwin has made five acquisitions to date, and three in 2010, acquiring baby food company Plum Baby, womenswear brand Fenn Wright Manson and office supply company Euroffice.