Oakley holds first close on €140m

Peter Dubens, a UK-based entrepreneur, has taken a first step towards his €550 million target for his debut fund, using proceeds from an AIM flotation and capital from external investors and his team.

Oakley Capital Investments, the AIM-traded investment company which floated at the start of August, has held a first close of its institutional buyout fund on €140 million ($198 million).

The listed company committed unspecified proceeds from the £100 million ($204 million; €144.5 million) float alongside external investors and about £12 million from the investment team, led by serial entrepreneur Peter Dubens.

Dubens, executive chairman of Pipex Communications and former chairman of 365 Media Group, is targeting a final close of €550 million through a private placement advised by Atlantic Pacific Capital.

Invesco is the largest investor in the fund with a 25 percent stake, with US hedge funds Moore Capital and Kingdon Capitol Offshore owning another 10 percent each.

Oakley Capital Private Equity, a limited partnership private equity fund, will invest primarily in mid-market buyouts in the UK and Europe. It will buy controlling positions in companies with scope for performance improvement, and in industries with strong underlying growth drivers and the potential for consolidation.

It is targeting equity transactions in the range of €30 million to €140 million where it can deliver gross IRR on its investments in excess of 25 percent per annum and a blended gross multiple of three times, the company said in a statement.

Dubens is hoping to trade on his experience in the acquisition, turn around, management, development, and disposal of public as well as private companies. He was instrumental in establishing 365 Group, a UK online sports content providers. He sold it to BSkyB in December 2006.

He is mulling a bid for the rump of Pipex, which he also chairs. He has said he will step down if the board receives an offer.

Oakley Capital Partners is not Dubens first foray into alternatives. He is a director of Palmer Capital Associates, a hedge fund capital raising business which he co-founded in 2001, and Oakley Multi Manager, a Bermuda-based fund of hedge funds, which he also co-founded.

Oakley Capital Partners was founded in July 2002 by accountant David Till. Since then it has completed over 35 transactions with a deal value of approximately £600 million.

Mark Joseph joined in 2007. He was previously a managing director of UBS Investment Bank, based in London. In his 13 years at UBS he specialised in mergers and acquisitions, more recently focusing on the European communications sector.

Alex Collins also joined this year after 10 years GE Capital, Advent International and Henderson Global Investors. He has investment experience in a wide range of geographies and sectors including the UK, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

Dubens can also count on an illustrious group of advisers. Sir Harry Djanogly was formerly chairman and chief executive of the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, a business he sold to Coats, the industrial polyester producer, in 1985 for approximately £240 million. Djanogly became a non executive director of Coats following the sale and served as its chairman until 2003.

Lord Wolfson, formerly a director of retailer Great Universal Stores where he served as chairman from 1996 to 2000, is also advising. He was Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet 1978 to 1979 and Chief of Staff of Baroness Thatcher’s political office from 1979 to 1985. He has served as a director and chairman of the fashion retailers Alexon Group, Next and William Baird, among others.
Eric Semel, co-founder and former chief executive of 365, is also on board as an industry specialist.