HarbourVest in £1bn swoop for SVG Capital

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HarbourVest announced on September 12 that it bought 8.5% of SVG’s shares and has received commitments for an additional 42.7% of the remaining share capital, which would give it more than the 50% threshold required to complete the deal.

If HarbourVest were to secure 75% of the voting rights, it would have the power to delist the vehicle and with 90% of the voting rights it could force other investors to sell their stakes.

HarbourVest’s offer values SVG at £1.015 billion and would represent its third acquisition of a private equity investor. In 2011, it acquired Swiss fund of funds investor Absolute Private Equity in a deal worth about $ 806 million and in 2012 it acquired the portfolio of Guernsey-based publicly traded limited partnership Conversus Capital in a deal worth about $ 1.4 billion.

Its plan is to take the investment firm into run-off. David Atterbury, a managing director at HarbourVest, said: “We would be looking to manage down the portfolio of the vehicle over a 10- to 12-year time horizon. There’s a natural run-off of the portfolio over that time.”

HarbourVest will make a cash offer of 650p in cash for each share, according to its statement. The price represents a premium of 14.7% over SVG’s share price on September 9 and a 23.1% premium to the average over the previous six months.

HarbourVest said it intends to buy SVG through its secondaries fund Dover Street IX, which has $ 4.1 billion of capital commitments, according to the bid document.

Jefferies is advising HarbourVest, as is law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that SVG shareholders will have 21 days to take up the offer, according to partners. A final decision has not yet been made.

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