Deal round up 03/07/02

Gresham backs portfolio firm acquisition; GBCP Buys Stake in Balzac; AGF backs GridXpert launch programme; Nordic VCs back Interpeak growth

Gresham backs portfolio firm acquisition

Gresham, the UK private equity house, has backed the acquisition by Busy Bees, the UK childcare facilities company, of the Lancashire-based Kindercare group, the largest independent childcare provider in the north west of England. Kindercare will add nine nurseries to the 43 already operated by Busy Bees and make it the second largest childcare provider in the UK 

The deal brings to £27m the funding that Gresham and banking group HBoS have provided in the past two years to support the company’s expansion. Gresham contributed £4.65m in this latest phase of funding. Gresham is part of the Zurich Financial Services Group and invests both from its own balance sheet and from Group resources. It specialises in management and institutional buyouts and buy-ins, as well as transactions requiring expansion and acquisition finance.

GBCP Buys Stake in Balzac

European private equity firm Granville Baird Capital Partners has invested E3m in expansion capital for Balzac Coffee Shop Group, a German coffee chop chain based across shop’s in Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. The exact size of the stake acquired by GBCP was not disclosed, although it was described as a ‘significant minority interest’. 

The German coffee shop chain was first established in 1998 and currently operates eight shops with 120 employees and about 100,000 customers each month. The German market currently comprises 250 shops, a figure which is expected to double in the next two years.

AGF backs GridXpert launch programme

Four investors have backed the launch of a European industrial grid computing project. AGF Private Equity, ETF Group, the Fonds de Co-Investissement pour les Jeunes Entreprises (Caisse des Dépôts Group) and Innovacom have collectively invested E3m to the GridXpert project, which will enable networks to operate as single ‘virtual’ machines.

ETF Group backed the company during its first development phase in November 2001. GridXpert provides solutions for the enormous needs in industries such as energy, manufacturing, life sciences, chemistry and biotechnology as well as providing technology for large European and American Fortune 2000 corporations.

Nordic VCs back Interpeak growth

SEB Företagsinvest and Industrivärden have invested SEK30m (E3.3m) in Interpeak, a provider of network security solutions for embedded systems. The capital contribution will be made in two consecutive issues, and will provide the firm will capital to expand internationally.

The transaction will see SEB Företagsinvest join forces with AB Industrivärden, which has been originally invested in 2000 when the firm was established in Sweden. Interpeak has currently several customers in the datacom and telecom markets, and a number of strategic partners such as OSE Systems, WindRiver Systems, Green Hills, Mentor Graphics and AI Corporation of Japan.