3i sells VC stakes to Cipio for €18m

The London-listed private equity firm has offloaded a portfolio of 10 venture capital investments to the secondaries specialist. 3i has also exited its growth capital investment in shipping services company Instone International for between €30m and €50m.

Cipio Partners, a private equity direct secondaries investor, has bought a portfolio of 10 venture capital investments from London-listed private equity firm 3i Group. No figures on the value of the transaction were released, but a source with knowledge of the situation said the deal was worth between €17 million and €19 million.

The sale comes as 3i is seeking to totally divest its venture capital portfolio. Michael Queen, 3i’s chief executive, told reporters last month that the firm hopes to have disposed of its venture capital portfolio within the next 12 months.

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The move is part of a strategic shift away from early stage venture activity first announced in March 2008 which has since been accelerated as the firm tries to delever its balance sheet.

Cipio Partners, the buyer, is a secondaries specialist with bases in Munich, London and San Jose, California. Individual assets within the portfolio were not named but a source said the 10 assets were mostly concentrated within German-speaking Europe.

In the past Cipio has acquired venture capital portfolios from sellers such as Daimler Chrysler, Deutsche Telecom and Siemens.

In related news, 3i has exited its growth capital investment in Instone International, a service provider to the shipping industry, in a trade sale to corporate travel and events company ATP International.

3i originally backed a £3 million management buyout of Instone in 2004. Financial details were not disclosed, but the sale price is understood to have been worth between €30 million and €50 million. 3i owned a 27 percent minority stake.