Candover mulls €5bn buyout fund

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The Independent Online

The private equity group Candover Partners is to hit the fundraising trail this year, despite continuing problems in the credit markets, after sounding out investors over its latest leveraged buyout fund, expected to be worth as much as €5bn (£3.7bn).

The European buyout group, which has offices in London, Madrid, Milan and Paris, is considering the launch of a new fund sometime this year, a source close to the company said. The source said: "The previous fund is now about 70 per cent invested. Normally when it gets that far, Candover will start looking at raising its next fund." Candover declined to comment.

It is a tough time for private equity. A survey released last month found that while the total value of private equity-backed transactions in Europe remained strong for the full year, it slumped in the final quarter following the onset of the credit crunch.

The report, put together by Incisive Media and Candover, found that the total value of European private equity transactions in the last three months of the year had fallen 45 per cent on the previous quarter to €21bn.

Marek Gumienny, managing director of Candover, said at the time: "These final quarter figures reveal the full extent of the current credit crisis – the wheels have well and truly come off the debt market." He added that private equity would survive, just as it had through other cycles.

Candover last week announced that, alongside consortium partner Marel, it had sealed almost 100 per cent acceptances for its €1.5bn takeover bid for the Dutch industrial group Stork. The €48.4 per share offer was recommended in December.

The previous month, the buyout firm sold Get, a Norwegian cable television operator, to a syndicate led by Quadrangle Capital Partners and GS Capital Partners. Get's value had almost doubled after Candover bought the group for €445m, the first investment made for its previous fund. That fund, which closed to investors in 2005, raised €3bn.