Newbridge closes Fund IV on $1.5bn

The investment firm launched 11 years ago by US buyout houses Texas Pacific Group and Blum Capital Partners has wrapped up a new $1.5bn vehicle targeting Asia.

Newbridge Capital, the Fort Worth, Texas-based private equity firm, has closed its fourth fund – Newbridge Asia IV – on $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion).

A spokesperson for the firm, which prefers to keep a low profile, declined to disclose the fund’s target size. The fund, which will focus on pan-Asian buyouts, was launched in March 2005 and held a first closing in August. No details were given of investors in the fund, which was raised without the use of a placement agent.

Newbridge Asia IV becomes the third-largest fund targeting buyouts across Asia. The largest is the $1.975 billion CVC Capital Partners’ Asia Pacific II fund, followed by CCMP Capital Asia’s $1.575 billion second fund.

Timothy Dattels, managing director, Newbridge Capital

According to its website, Newbridge manages over $3.2 billion of capital, and operates out of offices in Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. The firm is focused on five industry groups: financial services; technology and telecoms; healthcare; consumer; and industrials.

Newbridge has gained a reputation for completing seminal transactions in Asia, including the first foreign acquisition of a South Korean bank when it acquired Korea First Bank in 1999, and the first purchase by a foreign group of a controlling stake in a Chinese bank when it invested in Shenzhen Development Bank in 2004.

However, one of Newbridge’s past successes may be coming back to haunt it. When the firm sold Korea First Bank to Standard Chartered last year, it reportedly reaped a gain of around $990 million. But since then there has been an apparent backlash against the profits reaped by foreign private equity firms in the country. The Korea Times last month reported that the country’s tax agency is “likely” to launch an investigation into the Korea First Bank deal on the basis of possible tax evasion.