Mobeus Equity Partners has announced the conditional sale of its Venture Capital Trust business to Gresham House, the specialist alternative asset manager and Manager of the Baronsmead VCTs. Following completion of the acquisition, expected to be at the end of September, the Mobeus VCT team, comprising Partners, Trevor Hope and Clive Austin, 14 staff and three consultants, will all transfer to Gresham House.
Following the transaction, Mobeus will continue to grow its institutional buyout business, investing in small-cap private equity transactions. Its four Partners and nine staff will take forward the business to focus exclusively on investing Mobeus Fund IV and raise its successor Fund V. The ongoing Mobeus business will be wholly owned by its four partners – Ashley Broomberg, Richard Babington, Justin Maltz and Chris Price.
The transaction marks the evolution of Mobeus, founded 23 years ago when the business first entered the VCT sector. Founded as GLE Development Capital in 1998, becoming Matrix Private Equity Partners in 2004 and Mobeus since 2012, the firm has become a leading name in UK SME investment. Having created a new institutional buyout business in 2015, separate from its VCT Fund management business, the de-merger marks the firm’s decision to focus on organic growth of this business, and to partner with another leading firm to take forward its VCT interests.
The deal is the catalyst for Mobeus Partner succession and sees the retirement of founder Partners, Mike Walker, Bob Henry and Eric Tung. Whilst also stepping down as Mobeus Partners, the deal sees Mark Wignall, Jonathan Gregory and Rob Brittain providing continuity, working with Mobeus and Gresham House.
Trevor Hope said:
“The VCT growth capital market has expanded, and the industry players are consolidating. Success requires an increasingly dedicated focus and significant further investment in resource and technology. As part of our succession planning, we sought a steward with the long-term ambition, resource, and commitment to build on the reputation and success of the Mobeus VCT business. Gresham House has the capability to invest in, and grow, a major SME investment financing platform based on the integrated Mobeus and Baronsmead teams and is the natural partner for us.”
Ashley Broomberg, Mobeus Managing Partner said:
“Following the VCT rule changes in 2015, we built a highly rated team with specialist venture skills; whilst our core buyout business has proven its ability to raise and invest institutional capital. With increasing consolidation in the venture arena and a preference for institutional investors to back focused, boutique private equity investors, the commercial drivers to separate these two quality businesses to facilitate further growth became clear. We feel extremely positive about the platform we have in place to take our buyout business forward and raise successor funds.”
Mark Wignall, said:
“This evolution will build on Mobeus’s long-term success. I am confident Mobeus will flourish and grow significantly under the leadership of Ashley and our buyout Partners. Trevor and Clive joining forces with Bevan Duncan and Gresham House creates a formidable combination of Mobeus and Baronsmead in the VCT sector and Rob and I relish the opportunity of working with Gresham House plc’s CEO, Tony Dalwood, and his team to build this exciting SME investment platform. 23 years’ track record has earned Mobeus an enviable reputation in our market and I am personally delighted that our Partnership has been able to implement a retirement and succession strategy to continue that success for all our People and Clients”.
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