Wolseley launches A$300m fund

The firm expects its new mid-market fund to reach first close by April.

Sydney-based Wolseley Private Equity is raising its third vehicle targeting A$300 million (€194 million; $262 million) for lower mid-market opportunities in Australia, Andrew Petering, managing director at the firm, told Private Equity International.

The fund officially launched in late November and the firm is currently in active talks with 40 investors.

Wolseley expects a “very good” re-up rate from its existing investors, although an increase in the number of international LPs from its previous vehicle, Petering said.

The third offering is the firm’s largest yet, with the first and second vehicles raising A$107 million and A$235 million respectively. Fund I attracted only domestic investors, with Fund II having 25 percent international investors. The latest fund is expected to be a 50/50 split.

The fund is expected to make a first close in April, Petering said, adding that the firm has already found four deals it considers strong potential investments.

Wolseley had two exits during 2013. In September, the firm sold Australian magazine publisher Nextmedia in a trade sale to Germany-based Forum Media Group, PEI reported earlier. The deal came just one month after Wolseley sold Guardian Childcare Alliance to pan-Asia private equity firm Navis Capital Partners in a deal worth roughly A$120 million, a source close to the matter told PEI earlier.

“I think we’ll have very good re-up from our existing investor base, who are still actively looking at the sector. Most people are well aware of the quite public withdrawal of a few of the [superannuation] funds from private equity,” Petering said.

“But of those still actively engaged in the sector I think we’ll have very good re-up in Fund III and we are also very heavily engaged in discussions with some significant offshore investors that I think will bring some fresh insight and capital into Fund III as well.”