Core Capital, the UK private equity firm which owns restaurant chain Brasserie Blanc, sold events company AlliedPRA yesterday to a US buyer after having ditched the company's European operations.
When Core originally invested in the company in 2009, it was a struggling UK-headquartered events business. During its investment period, the private equity firm helped AlliedPRA sell off its underperforming European divisions and provided extra cash to fund eight acquisitions.
On the sale yesterday to US private equity firm CI Capital Partners, Core made 3.6-times its money back. Core's £85m second fund has now returned more than 40 per cent of investors' capital back to them, after exiting just two companies so far.
“When we first looked at AlliedPRA, we saw an opportunity to invest in a business which had exciting growth opportunities but required a large amount of hands-on support,” said Core partner David Steel.
“We focused our time and capital into the development of the platform, driving the acquisition strategy and helping to recruit a best-in-class management team.”
AlliedPRA creates experience days in local destinations for business meetings and events. It now generates more than $100m (£77m) in annual revenues and has 26 office locations.
“Core Capital entered into this business at arguably the toughest economic period in our lifetime. They took on significant risk and worked hard over several years to put AlliedPRA in position to build value,” said chief executive Tony Lorenz.
Core originally invested in AlliedPRA through a venture capital trust (VCT), but decided to buy the business into its second private equity fund after government changes to the VCT rules effectively banned the tax-efficient vehicles from funding buyouts. As Core became a pure-play lower mid market private equity firm, it “cleaned up” by assuming most of its VCT assets into its new private equity fund.