Deal round up 21/10/02

Apax leads E16m ASK third round; Matrix PE backs Signature growth

Apax leads E16m ASK third round


European venture capital firm Apax Partners has contributed E8m to a E16.3m third investment round for ASK, a French designer, manufacturer and distributor of smart cards. Other participants in the round include CDC-Ixis Innovation, Crédit Lyonnais Private Equity and Banque de Vizille, who between them contributed E3.3m. New investors, AdAstra and iglobe provided the remaining E5m.


ASK, based in Sophia Antipolis, will use the financing to continue the firm’s expansion, particularly in the US and Asia. The firm is predicting 58 per cent growth this year. In 2001, the firm reported turnover of E11.6m.


Matrix PE backs Signature growth


UK private equity firm Matrix Private Equity has invested £420,000 from its Matrix Enterprise Fund in Signature Brands Group, a retailer of designer clothing labels based in the UK. This current round of funding will raise £1.8m in total and MEF is co-leading the investment with Electra Kingsway VCT.


Signature was established in September 1999 following a management buy-out of the rainwear retailer, Four Seasons of London. Currently Signature employs 48 staff and is based in London. The financing will be used to provide further expansion capital and to recapitalise the financial base of Signature.