Category: Investment

Formation Group raised US$357 million for debut fund to invest in early and growth stage companies

Formation Group has launched its debut fund worth US$357 million of commitments in partnership with former Facebook chief financial officer and San Francisco 49ers co-owner Gideon Yu serving on the investment team, according to filings with the SEC.

The maiden fund is set up to bridge innovation between Silicon Valley and Asia, whereby it will focus its investments on a number of early and growth stage companies.

In addition to providing capital, Formation Group will also provide operational support and relationships to bring these opportunities to fruition.

“Our investment in Bowers & Wilkins is a prime example of this strategy, in which we enabled a small Silicon Valley startup (EVA Automation) to execute an unprecedented acquisition of an established, profitable, 50-year old iconic brands in Bowers & Wilkins,” according to a spokesperson from Formation Group.

Besides, the firm’s founding managing partner Brian Koo was a former founding partner of Formation 8 and a founder of InnovationHub. He currently serves on several boards including NextVR, Memebox, and YelloMobile.

While Gideon Yu is the chairman and chief executive officer of Bowers & Wilkins. Previously, he was also a General Partner at Khosla Ventures and Treasurer and SVP of Finance at Yahoo.

The company’s offices are located in Palo Alto, Korea, and Singapore. The portfolio also includes on-demand delivery Honestbee, and ride-hailing service Go-Jek and South Korea’s Dayli Financial Group.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

IFM Investors to acquire minority stakes in Australian fashion handbag and accessories retailer Colette by Colette Hayman

IFM Investors‘ private equity arm has recently invested an undisclosed sum for a minority stake in Colette by Colette Hayman, a leading fashion handbags and accessories retailer based in Australia.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but IFM Investors Executive Director Stuart Wardman-Browne announced that IFM’s partnership with the company’s founders and senior management would help the business continue its growth path.

“We are excited to partner with Colette as it seeks to further expand in Australia and offshore. With the strong experience of its leadership team, niche value proposition, on-trend products and proven retail nous, we believe Colette is well positioned to execute on its next phase of growth,” Wardman-Browne said.

Founded in 2010 by Mark and Colette Hayman, Collete by Collete Hayman has grown to a network of over 130 company-owned stores across Australia and New Zealand as well as several franchise locations across South Africa and the Middle East.

“We feel there are opportunities to add stores to that footprint both here and in New Zealand,” Mr. Wardman-Browne said. “They’ve been quite successful in a refit program in a number of stores which has helped them increase sales.”

Owned by 28 super funds including the country’s biggest funds AustralianSuper, IFM Investors has a well-established presence in private equity and provides institutional investors with a flexible and transparent platform to access private equity investments.

Its private equity model benefits investee companies through an openness to taking minority or majority stakes, flexible investment horizons, and the ability to continue committing follow-on capital as required for growth.

“This transaction is a perfect example of how our private equity approach can benefit companies through long-term investment coupled with a partnership-style approach including pro-active support on strategic initiatives to help the continued growth of the business,” said Wardman-Browne. “It also benefits our investors as they have greater involvement in, and transparency of, their private equity investment.”

As an investor-owned global fund manager, IFM Investors has A$75 billion under management. IFM Investors’ private equity team seeks to invest in growing businesses in Australia and New Zealand with a value of between $50 million to $300 million. This transaction follows the acquisition of 50 per cent of leading contractor group ISGM in June.

Commenting on the investment, Mark Hayman, the CEO of Colette by Colette Hayman said, “The partnership with IFM represents an exciting development for us as we embark on our next phase of growth in Australasia and internationally. We look forward to working closely with IFM to realise our vision for the Colette by Colette Hayman brand.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Temasek unit Heliconia launches US$422 million International Partnership Fund to help Singaporean firms expand globally

Heliconia Capital Management, a unit of Temasek Holdings, has announced the launch of a S$600 million (about US$422 million) International Partnership Fund (IPF) in government capital.

The new fund will be used to co-invest with Singapore-based enterprises, helping local enterprises to internationalise their business operations and expanding into oversea markets via acquisitions.

Its joint investment policy focuses on Asian markets, encouraging local firms to partner with other Asian companies to engage in activities such as extending product lines, brands or value chains, in addition to gaining access to markets, channels, and technologies.

Specifically, the fund will support firms that intend to grow by acquiring their regional peers, but which may not have sufficient capital to proceed with its acquisition.

In this way, the fund will hold opportunities for smaller local firms by allowing them to link up with Heliconia as a consortium partner that is able to co-invest in the target company alongside the Singapore acquirer.

Heliconia will come in purely as a financial investor and will not compete over the acquisition’s ownership. Firms that have not identified an acquisition target can also opt for Heliconia’s help to source deals by tapping its extended networks, which only large private equity funds can maintain.

However, to draw on the funds, firms must meet the criteria of being headquartered in the city-state and to have post annual revenues no higher than S$800 million ($564 million). These conditions place their investment focus firmly on middle market enterprises.

“The creation of the fund is part of an effort to develop a smart financing ecosystem here, in Singapore,” said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. “More funding support is also being targeted at infrastructure developers to help them undertake more oversea projects.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

China’s JoyMe, Kee Ever to set up US$360 million M&A fund to acquire oversea video game companies

JoyMe Group, a Beijing-based internet technology company has formed a strategic alliance with Kee Ever Bright Decorative Technology Co., Ltd., a Jiangsu province-based online video game company to launch a RMB3 billion (about US$360 million) video game M&A fund.

The first phase of the fund, tentatively set at RMB1 billion (about US$140 million) will focus on the investment of video games distribution, production, development, eSports, and other industries which lie in line with the development strategy of the two investment partners.

In 2016, the video game market in China was estimated to worth RMB165 billion (about US$24 billion), in addition to an emerging trend in merger and acquisition, recording a total of US$28 billion transaction value in the same year. This can be seen looking at Tencent Holdings Ltd’s US$8.6 billion acquisition of Finland-based mobile game development company Supercell and Youzu Interactive’s €80 million acquisition of German game business Bigpoint, among some.

“The global video games industry has a history of over 50 years, and China’s gaming market has its own three eras whereby, in the beginning, companies like Sdo and The9 only aim to become the proxy of a good product. Later, a new batch of companies emerged which set research and development at its core. Today, the situation has transitioned to that of Tencent and Netease, whereby internationalisation becomes the driving force of most gaming companies,” said Chen Yang, the CEO and Group Chairman of JoyMe.

“Hence, it is time for us to launch a buyout fund targeting the international market. As comparing China to other countries, we are lacking in terms of technology and creativity although China’s game industry market has an edge in its user base, paying capacity as well as commercial capacity of Chinese companies which can leverage global attention. In this case, we intend to acquire the best foreign products and talents back to China,” said Chen Yang.

Founded in 2011 by Chen Yang, a former lead producer at U.S.-based Electronic Arts Inc. The company previously raised a RMB130 million (about US$18 million) series B round from Fosun Kinzon Capital and Bluerun Ventures. It later raised an undisclosed amount of series C round from online video platform Youku Tudou and Beijing-based game developer Ourpalm.

Prior to the establishment of investment funds, the Group has formed a North American branch and which was joined by former Lucas Entertainment CEO Jack Sorensen and other senior players. In this retrospect, Chen Yang said that compared to other teams, their team’s advantage lies in understanding the North American market, “our team in the international large-scale game companies who have a lot of executives, including myself is the case.”

Speaking on the future of the group for the game industry layout, Chen Yang said, “We will not acquire studios at their early stages, as though their game content development may be creative, at the same time, there are still many uncertainties. Moreover, this fund sets out to be an M&A fund instead of being a VC, hence game companies model which has not been proven in the market will not be included in our investment scope.”

By Vivian Foo, Next Unicorn

CapBridge and Gordian Capital to launch US$100 million rules-based CapBridge Investment Trust to invest in private securities

Singaporean CapBridge and investment manager Gordian Capital has formed a partnership to launch a pre-IPO fund – the first sub-trust fund in a series of CapBridge Investment Trust which is said to be a rules-based trust investing in private securities.

The pre-IPO Fund is targeting a US$100 million fresh capital to provide growth-stage startups and pre-IPO companies an opportunity to tap into additional funding as well as to provide accredited and institutional investors a greater access to venture capital-level returns.

CapBridge’s Co-founder and CEO Steven Fang explained, “Venture Capital consistently outperforms other asset classes and has some of the best returns in the investment industry. Traditionally, accredited and institutional investors have had limited access to these venture capital-backed growth companies.”

Established in 2015, CapBridge is an online capital-raising platform that enables institutional and accredited investors to invest in growth-stage enterprises companies via venture capital financing and pre-IPO placement. The firm has also formed partnerships with the SGX and Clearbridge Accelerator.

“While rules-based processes are applied in the trading of publicly-listed investments, this is the first time, as far as we know, that a rules-based structure is being applied to investments in venture-backed securities issued by private companies,” said Dr. Steven Fang.

“Given the efficiency of a rules-based trust structure, we believe that the Pre-IPO Fund has the potential to expedite pre-IPO capital raising, making Singapore an attractive fundraising destination for growth companies,” he further adds.

In a way, CIT enables qualified institutional and accredited investors the access to quality, diversified portfolios in a cost-efficient and effective manner with no management fee to carry. Over the next five years, the platform will target investments in venture-backed enterprises in pre-IPO investments.

The fund following a rules-based structure is typically defined as a fund that aims to generate exposure to a to a specific segment of the equities market but operates without consideration of stock market capitalisation or portfolio weighting. In the case of CIT’s Pre-IPO Fund, it is aimed is to increase exposure to securities issued by growth-stage companies.

“The rules-based nature of CIT ‘automates’ the selection criteria and removes the need for active discretionary management, which reduces the fund’s expense load,” Steven Fang explains.

The Pre-IPO Fund will also invest exclusively in convertible instruments issued by companies curated on the CapBridge platform. This will allow the company to preserve capital and maximise returns, allowing for a measure of downside capital protection and potential capital gains.

Commenting on the deal, Mark Voumard, the Founder and CEO of Gordian Capital Singapore Pte. Ltd said, “We are delighted to be working with CapBridge to help support the venture capital ecosystem in Singapore.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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