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Deal Round-up 21/01/02

Quester leads £4m injection in OD2; The Custom Factory takes $600,000; Comareg up for sale.

Quester leads £4m injection in OD2

European digital music distributor and brainchild of Peter Gabriel, OD2 has secured £4m second round funding from a consortium of investors led by independent VC Quester. New investors include NIF, a Japanese venture capital fund. This takes the amount secured since it was formed in 1999 to £6.5m.

Quester, founded in 1984, today has around £250m under management. The firm focuses on two areas, information and communication technologies, and healthcare and life sciences. The group also manages a number of external funds from institutional investors and universities such as Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Southampton. The firm launched its fifth VCT in November last year setting the target at £25m.

The Custom Factory takes $600,000

Strathdon Investments, the technology venture capitalist, has injected $600,000 into The Custom Factory, a Texas-based supply chain software company.  The funding will be used to expand the company’s sales and marketing efforts.

Strathdon invests in both established and start-up technology companies in the UK and the US and targets companies seeking capital anywhere between £50,000 to £1.5m. It currently has a portfolio of 26 software companies operating in the energy, finance, healthcare and manufacturing/process sectors. The firm has raised £22m of funds to September 2001 and has invested over £12m since its establishment in 1997.

Comareg up for sale

Venture capitalists Advent International and Candover are in discussions with Vivendi Universal to buy Comareg, the firm's French newspaper business. As part of the deal, Vivendi will retain a 20 per cent stake in the firm. The new business will be renamed Aprovia.

Vivendi put Comareg on the market last year, as part of its strategy to move away from publishing and focus on other media. In September 2001, it sold its trade and health publishing unit to a private equity consortium, made up of Apax Partners, Cinven, and Carlyle, for E2bn.