Emerald fund leads IT MBO

PM & Partners, Athena and Prudentia have backed the E20m management buyout of Venice-based IT services firm AIVE.

PM & Partners has completed a management buyout at AIVE, the IT consulting firm based near Venice. PM & Partners completed the deal through its E215.5m Emerald Fund, an private equity fund focusing primarily on domestic venture capital investments.

Emerald acquired just over 38 per cent of the shares in AIVE for around E10m. The other two financial investors, each with a 19.2 per cent shareholding, are Luxembourg-based Athena Private Equity and Prudentia, which is managed by Fidia (a fund controlled by Mediobanca, Intesa BCI, Unicredit and Banca di Roma). The two vendors will retain a 23 per cent stake in the firm.

The deal is the third from the Emerald Fund. The firm has previously invested in Eco Group, a component manufacturer for refrigeration and air conditioning systems and in Idra Presse, a maker of die casting machines which was a public-to-private deal.

AIVE’s managing director, Franco Mazza, who will stay at the firm following the deal said that the strategy was to develop the firm into one of the front runners in IT consultancy in Italy. “AIVE’s turnover in 2002 will be about E40m but we expect to reach turnover of around E60-70m in the first half of 2004, and this will be largely through acquisitions.”

A spokeperson for PM&P confirmed that AIVE would be looking to make a number of acquisitions over the next three years both in Italy and also across Europe. The firm also refused to rule out a future listing of AIVE, although added that this would not take place in the short term.