Accent Equity Partners, which was formed in April 2003 following Nordico’s recruitment of key members of Euroventures, a fellow Swedish private equity firm, has closed its debut fund under the new name on €250 million ($301 million).
The firm posted a second closing in June on €200 million, which was its original minimum target. A first closing of €75 million in August 2003 followed a marketing exercise focused on existing investors in Euroventures and Nordico funds, such as the Sixth AP fund and Dansk Kapitalanlaeg.
Since then, it has sought to attract investors from outside the region. According to James Moore of UBS Private Equity Funds, which advised Accent as placement agent, the fund attracted a “good cross-section” of investors – including funds of funds and university endowments – from a large number of European countries including France, Luxemburg, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The identity of individual investors outside the Nordic region has not been disclosed.
Accent CEO Jan Ohlsson told PEO he had decided to cap the “substantially oversubscribed” fundraising at €250 million in order to retain the firm’s focus on the Nordic lower mid-market.
Asked to comment on the reasons for investor appetite, Moore said: “Because it came about through a merger, Accent is a group that is complicated on the surface and was difficult for many investors to get their minds around. But once they had peeled back the layers of the onion, they found a combined group with real strengths.”
He cited the operating experience of the team, the “relatively under-invested” Scandinavian lower mid-market and friendly LP terms in the fund structure as attractive features. On the latter point, a source close to Accent confirmed that the management fee had been set at 2.25 percent for the first €75 million of the fund, and 1.75 percent for the remainder – producing a blended fee of 1.9 percent for the entire fund. In addition, there is no element of transaction fee sharing with limited partners, and no catch-up clause relating to the carried interest.
Accent has so far completed three investments from the fund: Cefar, a Swedish electrotherapy specialist; Wernersson, a Swedish cheese wholesaler; and Jotul, a Norwegian stove and fireplace manufacturer. According to Ohlsson, the fund is now “slightly below 20 percent invested”.