Part’com seeks spinout backing

The European communications venture capitalist has held talks with German insurer Ergo over plans to demerge from its parent-company CDC Ixis Private Equity.

Part’Com, the European venture capital unit of CDC Ixis Private Equity specialising in communications, media and IT investments, has held talks with German insurer Ergo, part of the Munich Re group of insurers, over plans to secure independence from its French parent.


As part of this move, Part’Com plans to raise a fund with capital of between E200m and E300m, which would be backed both by Ergo and CDC Ixis Private Equity.


In 2002, Part’Com had been forced to abandon an earlier fundraising effort because of a lack of investor appetite. At the time, CDC Ixis agreed to provide Part’com with an interim E40m fund.


Part’com currently manages E540m and a portfolio of just under 100 company investments.


According to French business daily L’Agefi, Part’Com had initially held talks with Capital Z. The two groups reached agreement on a deal, only for talks to break down over investment policy.


Following the spinout, Part’com intends to continue to pursue its current strategy of allocating between 80 and 90 per cent to European investments. The firm also plans to recruit two or three investment professionals to take its team to twelve. Part’Com typically looks to invest between E1m and E25m in the media, telecommunications and IT sectors.


CDC already invests in Part’com’s investment sectors via its CDC Innovation unit. Willy Stricker, president of CDC Ixis Private Equity, said that the overlap between the two firms was one of the main reasons for his decision to allow the firm to spinout.


It remains to be seen whether Part’com’s decision to go it alone will spur other units within the CDC Ixis group into action as the group looks to reduce its exposure to direct investments. Last week, CDC Ixis announced that it was selling a portfolio of ten private equity fund interests to Axa Private Equity for around E170m.