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CBR Fashion Group’s former owner raises its largest fund ever and eyes investing in fashion

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Feb 23, 2018

Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB has raised its largest fund ever. The investment firm sold fashion retailer CBR Fashion Group after 11 years, now eyeing further investments in the fashion industry.

“Fashion retail is challenging and there is so much change,” Christian Sinding, the firm’s Zurich-based head of equity, said in an interview. “We would stay away from traditional fashion retail unless there is an e-commerce angle.”

The buyout firm will continue investing in its three core sectors of health care, technology, media and telecommunications, as well as services. The fund will also selectively invest in industrial and consumer goods companies.

Sinding also advanced that “We have one more deal to do from our previous fund and then can we start deploying.” EQT accumulated 10.8 billion euros, making the fund the largest it’s ever raised and surpassing its own 8 billion euro target.

Private equity firms have been on a fundraising spree as yield-hungry investors seek returns outside of stocks and bonds, reports Bloomberg. Last year, Apollo sealed 24.7 billion dollars for its latest global buyout fund, the largest pool ever by a leveraged buyout firm. CVC Capital Partners raised more than 16 billion euros for its flagship European and North American fund, the most ever by a European buyout firm.

“Some funds are struggling to raise capital, but smaller, niche, sector-focused and multi-asset-class platforms seem to be winners,” Sinding said. EQT’s eighth pool of capital is 59 percent larger than its predecessor, which secured 6.75 billion euros in 2015.

Sinding said he expects to see a “bumper year” for sales of portfolio companies. EQT’s equity funds have made 60 exits since inception, returning more than 26 billion euros to investors.

About 70 percent of investors from EQT’s previous fund committed capital again, according to an EQT statement on Friday. Investors included New York City Retirement Systems, Teachers Retirement System of Texas and Danske Bank A/S.