BS halts €600m fundraise

Market turmoil has forced the Italian private equity firm to stop marketing its fifth fund, launched in September. The firm's Fund IV recently acquired Tiscali's international internet business.

Italian firm BS Private Equity has postponed fundraising for its €600 million Italian Private Equity Fund V due to market conditions, according to market sources.

BS announced its intention to begin fundraising in May 2008, when the firm agreed to sell a 20 percent stake in itself to European banking group Gruppo Banca Leonardo.

The firm formally began fundraising – with commitments of €40 million from the management team and Gruppo Banca Leonardo – at the beginning of September, just before the credit crisis intensified and the fundraising market effectively shut down.

Following the escalation of the financial crisis and the withdrawal of Banca Leondardo from the acquisition process in November – a move described by BS as “unjustified and illegitimate” – the fundraise was halted.
Banca Leonardo was unavailable to comment.

BS’s fundraising will be revisited once the market conditions return to normal, the sources said.

In related news, BS has bought the international operations of Italian internet business Tiscali for €47 million.

The purchase of Tiscali International Network – also known as TiNet – includes a potential earn-out of €7 million, the internet firm said in a statement.

TiNet offers wholesale internet services to clients in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Following the acquisition, TiNet will continue to offer IP services to the Tiscali Group.

BS declined to comment.