Oakley raises £18m as it eyes main market listing

The UK mid-market player has raised additional capital via its AiM-listed feeder fund to take advantage of the increasing flow of turnaround opportunities.

Oakley Capital Private Equity has boosted its debut fund, which after three closings now stands at around €270million. The firm has raised £18 million (€20 million; $25 million) in a share placing via its listed feeder vehicle, Oakley Capital Investments Limited (OCIL).

The company’s management also intends to move OCIL, which has a market cap of around £60 million, onto the London Stock Exchange’s main market, the firm said. It is currently listed on the Alternative Investment Market, London’s junior bourse.

Oakley Capital Private Equity, which targets mid-market companies in the UK and Europe, has already drawn down around 35 percent of it committed capital to make three investments. The increased capital base from the placing will be used to take advantage of several investment opportunities brought about by the current economic downturn, “as distressed businesses seek capital and pricing expectations fall”.

Peter Dubens, director of OCIL, said in an interview the fund would continue to target assets in both the online space and the financial services sector, where there are a lot of “quality people” available that have left the large banks amid the financial crisis.

Dubens also anticipates strong deal flow coming from large corporates spinning off non-core assets.

Oakley’s most recent acquisition was Monument Securities, an equities and derivatives broker, which it bought in July last year for an undisclosed sum. It made two other acquisitions in 2008: Headland Media, which provides news digest services via satellite, and webhosting company Host Europe.

While some high profile listed private equity feeder funds – such as Candover and SVG Capital – have seen their share price decimated in the last 12 months, OCIL has suffered a more modest loss: it floated at 100 pence per share in August 2007 and at press time was trading at 64.5 pence.