Esprit sells its stake in Neteconomy

Esprit Capital Partners has sold its stake in fraud software business Neteconomy, as it hits the exit trail ahead of another fundraising round.

Esprit Capital Partners, one of Europe’s leading venture investors, has sealed a lucrative exit from Neteconomy, a financial crime management business, after selling it to IT provider Fiserv for an undisclosed sum.

Esprit, the venture firm formed from the merger of Prelude Ventures and Cazenove Private Equity last year, first invested in the business in Neteconomy in August 2005. The Dutch-based business provides financial institutions with software to counter fraud and money-laundering, and assist compliance.

Fiserv, one of the world’s leading suppliers of IT services to financial institutions, previously had no such offering, so the acquisition of Neteconomy represented a good strategic move for the business.

Fiserv president and chief executive Jeff Yabuki said: “We will now be able to provide banks, thrifts and credit unions a superior solution for both anti-money laundering and fraud management which will be integrated into all of our core account processing platforms.”

NetEconomy chief executive Sebastian Kuntz, who will remain with the business, described Fiserv as “a trusted and world-class organization.”

Esprit has also asked Goldman Sachs to consider strategic options for Lovefilm, the online DVD rental business it owns alongside Index Ventures. A source close to the company told PEI that no decision had been made on whether to sell or float the business, but private equity firms – including Apax Partners and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners – have already been linked with possible bids, as have various trade buyers.

Esprit is expected to hit the fundraising trail later this year, according to an investor.