HSBC sells Charterhouse Development Capital

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The Independent Online

Charterhouse Development Capital, the venture capital firm that owns Madame Tussaud's, secured its independence from HSBC Holdings in a management buyout yesterday.

HSBC, the UK's largest bank, said it was selling CDC, which it acquired last year when it bought Crédit Commercial de France, because it has its own existing private equity business, HSBC Private Equity, and there was significant overlap between the two. Neither party would comment on the sum, which is understood to have been around £5m.

Gordon Bonneyman, chief executive of CDC, said: "It wasn't realistic for one company to own two fully established businesses in private equity because of the possibility of a conflict of interest or competition. There was only one buyer of a firm like ours ­ the management ­ because of our relationship with our investors."

CDC, which is based in London, had net assets of £4.4m last December. It manages funds worth about £1bn and recently agreed to buy the electrical contracting business of Alstom of France for 750m euros (£460m).

Mr Bonneyman said the group was in the early stages of planning its next fund, which he "anticipates raising some time this year". Schroder Salomon Smith Barney has been appointed to help approach investors.

HSBC Private Equity undertook seven major deals in 2000, including an institutional buyout of Caradon Plumbing, with total financing of £496m.

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