German activist investor to raise €1bn fund

Goldsmith Capital Partners, the alternatives firm set up by Clemens Vedder in 2007, is raising its first private equity vehicle. Whitesmith Private Equity Investors will target opportunities in the retail and financial services sectors.

Clemens Vedder, the investor whose activist shareholder group Cobra made a killing on a stake in Germany’s Commerzbank in 2000, is marketing his first private equity vehicle. Whitesmith Private Equity Investors, for which Vedder hopes to raise €1 billion, will target retail and financial services businesses in German-speaking Europe.

Vedder launched his alternative investment firm, Cayman Islands-based Goldsmith Capital Partners, in 2007. The firm’s first vehicle, an activist shareholder hedge fund named Blacksmith, was launched last year.

Clemens Vedder

Vedder hit the headlines in 2000 when his investment group Cobra built up a 10 percent stake in German bank Commerzbank. The investors made a 150 percent return when they exited in 2006, according Goldsmith documents seen by PEO.

Until the formation of Goldsmith Capital Partners, Vedder’s previous investments, which included a stake in convenience retailer Spar on which investors made 7.5 times their original investment, had been made using capital from a group of high net worth individuals. Whitesmith Private Equity Investors will be funded by institutional commitments.

Since his high profile exit from Commerzbank, Vedder has focused on two projects: the expansion of his photographic business Camera Work, which he bought in 2002, and developing luxury villas. The property developments are likely to form the basis of Goldsmith’s next vehicle, a real estate fund for luxury properties.

Vedder’s maiden private equity fund will invest in public equities, private equity, distressed equity and debt and PIPE deals as well as primary and secondary fund investments.