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Electra buys €45m AXA stake in Steadfast fund

The London mid-market firm has added German private equity shop Steadfast, formerly BHF Private Equity, to its list of foreign partners, which include France’s TCR Capital, Italy’s Sinergo and Spain’s N+1.

Electra Partners has purchased Axa Private Equity’s €45 million interest in Steadfast Capital I, a private equity fund raised by BHF Capital, the former in-house private equity team of German bank BHF-Bank, now called Steadfast.

Steadfast Capital I was sold by ING, ING BHF-Bank's parent, in February 2006 to a consortium led by AXA and including Paul Capital Partners and Credit Suisse First Boston Strategic Partners. Financial details were not disclosed, but ING said when the sale was agreed in late 2005 that the deal released ING from a commitment to provide up to €305 million for the fund. Sale of the Steadfast fund followed the divesture of most of ING’s German unit, ING said.

As part of the synthetic secondary deal, ING agreed to commit €110 million to Steadfast’s second fund, while the secondary firms in the consortium agreed to invest between €60 million and €100 million for the fund, which ING said would raise between €200 million and €250 million in 2006. Steadfast closed its second fund on €193 million in June 2007.

Electra said Steadfast I has a “promising portfolio” of 13 small- to medium-sized businesses in German-speaking and Dutch markets.

Tim Syder, Electra partner, said in a statement that the investment will allow the London-based firm to further invest in German markets “and is consistent with our strategy to build successful partnerships with high quality managers in the European mid-market buyout sector”.

Electra has invested more than €100 million to establish partnerships with Italy’s Singergo SGR, Spain’s N+1 and France’s TCR Capital.

Electra has funds under management of more than £1 billion. In May, it raised £100 million for mid-market buyouts to deploy alongside the capital of its main client, quoted investment trust Electra Private Equity, as the latter returns to fully-blown private equity investment. The £100 million fund typically invests between £20 million and £70 million in buyouts as well as other areas including mezzanine debt and real estate.