European buyout firm Permira, voted Private Equity Firm of 2002 by readers of PrivateEquityOnline.com, is planning to launch Permira Europe III, the successor to its second buyout fund which closed on E3.5bn in May 2000.
Permira Europe II is now 64 per cent committed, following the recent investment in German-based cable television company Premiere and the £712m deal to acquire Travelodge and Little Chef from UK group Compass.
The fund, which will be launched later this month, is likely to be well supported, given the firm’s recent list of successes. These include the strong exit from its Homebase investment – voted Exit of the Year in the PEO 2002 Awards. The UK DIY chain was sold to Great Universal Stores for £900m, less than two years after Permira had paid £750m for the business.
Permira has been one of the strongest performing European private equity houses, achieving returns in the top ten per cent of European firms. In a stock exchange announcement this morning, Schroder Ventures International Investment Trust plc (SVIIT) confirmed that it plans to make a significant commitment to the fund as it looks to escalate its involvement in its former unit’s buyout activity. “We believe the opportunity for European buyouts and buy-ins to be particularly attractive over the next few years, in terms of both deal-flow and pricing, and Permira remains a leader in this field.”
According to a source close to the firm, Permira Europe III is unlikely to significantly exceed the previous fund, which closed on E3.5bn. “They’re a sensible bunch at Permira and won’t raise more than they feel they need to do the deals that interest them,” commented the source.
The new fund is expected to include a greater focus on the Nordic region, following the announcement last week that London-based partner Kurt Björklund was to open the firm’s office in Stockholm, the company’s sixth in total, alongside Ole Oftedal, who joined Permira as an industrial partner.