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New investment giant in Europe?

Stephen Beard Jul 4, 2006


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Europe could be on the brink of a new wave of takeover activity. Permira, an investment firm, has just raised the continent’s largest ever private equity fund. From the European Desk in London, Stephen Beard fills us in.

STEPHEN BEARD: Permira has raised around $14 billion from institutions and wealthy individuals. With borrowings, the fund will have closer to $40 billion to spend.

That puts it on a par with the big American private equity merchants. Permira says its new fund will look for buyout opportunties mainly in Europe.

Given the size of the fund, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank, Permira is likely to target much bigger companies than before.

ANDREW HILTON: Huge companies, companies that, you know, are generally considered off-limits for any kind of takeover activity: Royal Dutch Shell, British Telecom, companies like that suddenly become vulnerable.

Permira’s new fund will not be universally popular. After a wave of takeover activity in Germany last year, a former Economics Minister described the private equity funds as a plague of locusts.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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