09/03/2007

Launch of Darwin Private Equity LLP

 

Darwin Private Equity LLP (“Darwin”) is formally launched today by Derek Elliott, Jonathan Kaye and Kevin Street, three former senior investment executives from CVC and Permira. Darwin is an independent private equity firm focused on the UK lower mid-market.

Collectively the team has worked on a number of well known UK buy-outs including: Formula One, Homebase, Inmarsat, Kwik-Fit and Travelodge.

Darwin is pleased to announce the first close of Darwin Private Equity I LP (the “Fund”) with a £50 million cornerstone commitment from RIT Capital Partners plc (“RIT”), a publicly-quoted investment trust, chaired by Lord Jacob Rothschild.

Over the coming months, Darwin will seek to raise additional funds from other LPs with a target fund size of £250 million. Darwin has appointed Harjinder Hatfield to head the fundraising. Harjinder Hatfield is an experienced fundraising professional and was, most recently, an investment executive at Government of Singapore.

Derek Elliott commented “Darwin is targeting UK buy-outs of between £10 million and £100 million. We are looking forward to working with management teams of growing businesses to help them realise their potential.”

Many firms which used to operate in the UK lower mid-market have raised successively larger funds and are now targeting bigger deals. Darwin aims to take advantage of this trend.

“We think there is a space in the lower mid-market for a high quality team to enter,” says Jonathan Kaye. “We have developed our investment approach at two of the leading firms, working alongside some of the most talented people in the industry. Our aim is to bring this approach to the UK lower mid-market.”

Darwin is essentially opportunistic in its approach but will focus on sectors in which its partners have prior experience – consumer, industrial products, financial services and TMT.

Kevin Street commented: “we have extensive experience across a broad range of sectors. If you include our portfolio company work, we have been heavily involved in over 40 separate transactions over the past 7 years and the majority of these have been in the UK lower mid-market.”

Lord Jacob Rothschild, Chairman of RIT, said “RIT has a long and successful track record of identifying and backing talented investment managers. The three partners of Darwin are an experienced private equity team with an outstanding track record. We are delighted to support them in realising their ambitions.”

 
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