Riverside nears close on fourth European fund

The mid-market firm’s most recent investment from Europe Fund IV came last month with the acquisition of waterwear brand the Arena Group, Riverside’s first-ever deal in Italy.

The Riverside Company is close to wrapping up fundraising for its fourth European Fund targeting $550 million, a source familiar with the matter told PEO. Riverside did not comment on the status of the fundraising.

Fund IV came to market in late 2008 and made its first investment in September 2009.

Most recently, Riverside bought a 100 percent stake in sports water-wear manufacturer The Arena Group from Europe Fund IV from Italian firm BS Private Equity. The investment of undisclosed size is Riverside’s 14th acquisition of 2010 and the firm’s first deal in Italy.

Arena’s competitive swimwear and equipment products are distributed in over 100 countries. In 2009, the company had net sales of approximately €100 million. BS Private Equity acquired the Arena Group in 2006 from Investitori Associati in a secondary buyout transaction worth a reported €17 million.

Riverside invests in sectors including healthcare and clean technology, but maintains a generalist investment strategy. 

“For 22 years we’ve been generalists in our sector expertise and we continue to have a strong generalist bent everywhere we do business,” Riverside co-chief executive officer Béla Szigethy told PEO. “This manufacturer of swimsuits was clearly in a generalist category.”

Riverside’s previous European Fund, REF III, closed on €315 million in the summer of 2007. The fund exceeded its initial target of €250 million, and is nearly ten times the size of its predecessor Europe fund, which closed on €38 million in July of 2002.

Riverside made debut investments in Spain and Turkey in July, and in May completed its first investment in Australia. The firm opened a Melbourne office, its only office in Australia, in April.

Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has completed 237 acquisitions representing a total enterprise value of about €4.4 billion. The firm’s portfolio currently consists of 72 companies with aggregate net sales above €2.5 billion.

Riverside typically invests in companies with EBITDA ranging from €3 million to €15 million.