Ex-Carlyle Ireland execs beat crisis, lockdowns to hold first close

Melior Equity Partners is understood to have received backing from Carlyle Group's founders.

Melior Equity Partners, a firm formed by former investment professionals from Carlyle Group‘s Ireland team, has collected almost two-thirds of the target of its debut fund.

The Dublin-headquartered firm has held a first close on €115 million for Melior Equity Partners II, according to a source familiar with the fundraise. The fund launched at the beginning of the year with a €175 million target and a €200 million hard-cap.

Carlyle itself and the investment giant’s founders are understood to have committed to the fund. The Bank of Ireland, the European Investment Fund and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund are also understood to be investors.

Former Carlyle managing directors Peter Garvey and Jonathan Cosgrave founded Melior in July last year. Four other former Carlyle staff, including three investment professionals, have since joined, according to Melior’s website.

Melior II, which will focus on small-to-medium sized businesses in Ireland, is expected to hold its final close by the end of the year.

Asante Capital is advising on the fundraise while Travers Smith is providing legal advice, according to the source.

Private equity fundraising hit a three-year high during the first half of this year even as the coronavirus crisis shut down large parts of the global economy and restricted travel. Funds closed on $243.2 billion between January and June, up from $233.7 billion during the same period last year and the highest first-half total since 2017, according to PEI data.

Capital-raising has continued unabated into the second-half of the year, with CVC Capital Partners collecting €22 billion for its latest flagship in a July final close and Nordic Capital surpassing its €5 billion target in a first close for its 10th vehicle this month, as Private Equity International reported.

Melior and Asante declined to comment. Travers Smith confirmed it is advising on the fundraise without providing further details.