Soros backs new Spanish venture

Soros Private Equity has agreed to help two Spanish financiers launch a new private equity vehicle focussing on investment opportunities in Spain and Portugal.

Soros Private Equity, the global private equity business of Soros Fund Management LLC, has signed a co-operation agreement with Jaime Bergel, formerly managing director of Goldman Sachs and chairman of Merrill Lynch for Spain and Portugal, and Carlos Tejera, a high-profile Spanish financier.

The agreement is a prelude to the setting up of an investment vehicle “which will happen within the next few weeks”, according to Rafael Ladreda, who will be the main executive of the new group. Under the deal, Soros will cornerstone the fund, with additional capital to be secured from third parties.

In an interview with PrivateEquityOnline, Ladreda declined to reveal the name or size of the new fund, but said that it would be “industry agnostic” and would look to exploit opportunities across the breadth of the Spanish and Portuguese markets.

Ladreda said that conditions were improving for private equity in the region with sound macro-economic conditions now in place, a growing awareness of the asset class and the expansion of local equity markets.

Soros Private Equity, which has offices in New York and London, has not done any deals to date in Spain, although the group's interest in Mediterranean strategies is picking up. The firm recently backed Presidio, a pioneering Italian mezzanine fund which recently announced it had raised €50 million from institutions.

In April, Miltos Kambourides, a former partner at Soros Real Estate Partners, announced the launch of Dolphin Capital Partners LP, a €100m property fund targeting the leisure sector in Europe's SouthEast.