Schroder alters buyout deadline

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The Independent Online
SCHRODER Ventures, one of the largest international venture capital groups, has been forced to extend the closing date for its latest UK buyout fund in the wake of the sudden resignation of its managing partner, John Moulton, writes David Hellier.

Schroders said that the closing date, which was originally set for last Monday, has now been extended to 18 March.

'It gives everyone time to decide what they want to do. There was no way we could have proceeded with the original closing date in the light of such an important change in management,' said Susan Lloyd, a director of investor relations at the group. 'In any case, there is a requirement to disclose any important changes that occur during the marketing period.'

The UK buyout fund, which attracts investors from across the Atlantic, invests primarily in British companies that are not currently quoted on the stock market. The investments normally have a life of around 10 years.

Mr Moulton, one of the best known figures in the industry, resigned on Thursday after being unable to agree terms over a new five-year contract.

Formerly of Citicorp, Mr Moulton established Schroder Ventures in 1985. He led a number of successful management buyouts, including those for the Parker Pen group and RJB Mining, the mining group.

Under his guidance Schroder Venture Funds created more than 20 millionaires out of the companies that were either floated or sold after Schroders took an initial investment. According to some sources, the fund made an average rate of return of around 75 per cent a year for seven years.

A pounds 13m investment in Parker Pen made in 1986 has recouped pounds 119m for Schroders.

Mr Moulton is being replaced as managing partner by Peter Smitham, who joined Schroder Ventures in 1985 after working for several years with high-growth electronic companies. At Schroders he has been closely associated with some of the team's most successful investments, including the Roxboro group, which was floated on the stock market in November last year.

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