Aberdeen Standard, Benetton, in €1bn private equity JV

Martin Gilbert

Aberdeen Standard Investments and European investment firm 21 Partners on Friday announced the establishment of a new UK based 50:50 joint venture (JV) – 21 Aberdeen Standard Investments Limited (21ASI) – with the intention of Aberdeen Standard Investments launching a direct €1bn private equity fund later this year.

21 Partners, created by Alessandro Benetton, invests in mid-market companies through local funds and has completed about 100 investments in the mid-market over the past 26 years.

Aberdeen Standard Investments is the asset management business of Edinburgh-based Standard Life Aberdeen plc, one of the world’s largest investment companies, which manages assets of about €638 billion.

Aberdeen Standard said the investment strategy for the new fund will target active non-controlling interests “with a focus on providing patient capital for the long term.”

It said the fund aims to support and facilitate growth in companies without owners ceding majority stakes in their business.

The geographical focus for the fund will be on Europe and the fund term will be up to 15 years.

Benetton said: “I’m excited about launching this initiative with an outstanding partner that shares the values that have always characterized our investment activity.

“Creating sustainable value for companies requires increasingly more time and an industrial approach.

“I believe that this innovative fund represents the perfect combination of factors to help entrepreneurs and companies face the challenges that the market poses without changing the control of companies.”

Aberdeen Standard Investments co-chief executive Martin Gilbert said: “The joint venture is a powerful combination of a team led by one of the most reputable figures in the private equity industry combined with our own expertise in that area and a global footprint which will greatly enhance the marketability of the product.

“This is an exciting opportunity to provide a direct private equity offering to our clients. There is a clear demand from them for private markets products which offer attractive returns and important diversification.”

The new fund will also target opportunistic transactions or special opportunities which are time sensitive and with a shorter term investment horizon.

Investments will be identified by 21ASI, its JV partners and other stakeholders.

21ASI will be based in its own offices in London with an initial team of six people.

The Board of the JV will be led by Alessandro Benetton with the members drawn equally from both JV partners.