New name, new investors for West Private Equity

London-based West Private Equity is to change its name to Lyceum Capital following WestLB’s sale of its commitments in the firm’s debut fund to AlpInvest Partners and AXA Private Equity.

Netherlands-based limited partner AlpInvest Partners and AXA Private Equity, the private equity arm of French insurer AXA, have acquired German bank WestLB’s positions in London-based mid-market investor West Private Equity’s debut fund, WPE Fund 2000.
 
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but AlpInvest Partners and AXA Private Equity are believed to have paid a combined sum in excess of €100 million ($123 million).
 
As part of the transaction, WPE’s management has agreed to acquire the management company of the firm, which will be re-branded Lyceum Capital following regulatory approval.
 
In addition, AlpInvest Partners and AXA Private Equity have committed to a new fund to be raised and managed by Lyceum Capital. WPE Fund 2000 was reportedly 90 percent invested in January of this year.
 
WPE was not immediately available for comment.
 
WPE was formed in 1999 with a cornerstone commitment to its debut fund from WestLB. WPE Fund 2000 closed on €300 million in October 2000 and has subsequently made investments in nine companies which have themselves bought a further 17 businesses to date.
 
Lyceum Capital will continue WPE’s strategy of investing in UK companies within service industries, including: healthcare; education and human resources; business outsourcing and technology; financial services and media; as well as specialist consumer; retail; and industrial sectors.
 
AlpInvest Partners and AXA Private Equity are established players in the secondaries market. In 2003, the European team at AlpInvest acquired a €1.5 billion private equity portfolio from Deutsche Bank together with MidOcean Partners. In February 2005, AlpInvest’s US secondaries team acquired the private equity interests of Ohio-based utility DPL in a $1.2 billion deal involving 46 funds managed by 27 private equity firms.
 
Earlier this February, AlpInvest teamed up with Boston-based HarbourVest Partners to launch German secondary vehicle Paragon Partners Secondary, which has acquired an existing portfolio of three companies from German fund manager Afinium.
 
Last December, an AXA Private Equity-led consortium including Paul Capital Partners and Credit Suisse First Boston Strategic Partners purchased ING Group’s interest in a portfolio managed by Germany’s Steadfast Capital.
 
In a separate announcement, WPE has appointed David Harland, who has worked with the firm on business development since 2001, as operations director. A specialist in corporate development, M&A and performance improvement, Harland is currently CEO of Fox IT, a WPE Fund 2000 portfolio company; a member of the shareholder committee of Coperion Group; and a non-executive director of National Britannia Group and Velo.
 
Harland joins CEO Philip Buscombe, managing director Jeremy Hand and investment directors Andrew Aylwin and Daniel Adler in the firm’s senior management team.