Barclays offloads private equity assets for £460m

BRITISH lender Barclays has sold a €520m (£460m) portfolio of private equity fund investments to French firm Axa Private Equity.

Led by Bob Diamond, the bank is seeking to sure up its capital position in the face of tough new regulation.

The lender said the portfolio included investments in private equity funds as well as several direct private equity interests held by Barclays Capital, its investment banking division.

Banks are looking to shed private equity assets in order to refocus their funds towards meeting tough new European regulations, expected to force banks to hold higher levels of Core Tier 1 capital.

Barclays said the sale would return a “small” profit, as the sale price exceeded the book value of the assets. It added that the deal would be completed in phases, with the initial move expected to take place later this year.

“This transaction is further evidence that we are delivering on our commitment to increase our balance sheet efficiency”, said Chris Lucas, Barclays finance director. “We are pleased with this transaction and continue to look for similar opportunities going forward.”

ADVISERS: BAKER & MCKENZIE

JAMES BURDETT

BAKER & MCKENZIE

JAMES Burdett acted as lead legal advisor to Axa Private Equity on its £460m purchase of Barclays’ portfolio of assets for Baker & McKenzie in London.

As head of the City law firm’s London funds team, and as co-head of its global funds group, Burdett has advised on a wide range of private equity deals.

He specialises in the formation of private equity and hedge fund structures, fund reviews and due diligence for investors.

Last year, he worked in the Baker legal team advising the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, a Canadian investment firm, on its £389m deal to buy British National Lottery operator Camelot.

Baker’s Paris private equity partner Bruno Bertrand led on the transaction for the firm from the French capital.

Scottish law firm Burness also provided legal advice to AXA Private Equity. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Brodies advised Barclays.

Campbell Lutyens, led by managing director Andrew Sealey, acted as the intermediary in the sale.