Darwin Private Equity gets Rothschild seal of approval

Darwin Private Equity, a new mid-market fund launched by three former large buyout specialists, has received the backing of Lord Rothschild’s vehicle RIT Partners.

Three former senior executives from large buyout specialists Permira and CVC have launched a mid-market buyout fund called Darwin Private Equity, which has already attracted a cornerstone investment from Lord Rothschild’s investment vehicle as it targets £250 million (€368 million; $483 million).

Former Permira executives Derek Elliott and Kevin Street have joined forces with Jonathan Kaye, formerly of CVC, to launch a new fund that will specialise in small to mid-market buyouts.

Darwin has held a first close on its debut fund after receiving a £50 million cornerstone investment from RIT Capital Partners, an investment trust chaired by Lord Jacob Rothschild. The three principals hope to increase the fund’s size to £250 million in the coming months, and have appointed Harjinder Hatfield, a former investment executive with the government of Singapore, to oversee the fundraising.

The firm, which will focus on deals in the £50-100 million range, said it was hoping to target the “less sophisticated” lower mid-market space, as traditional players raised larger funds and focused on bigger deals.

Kaye said: “We think there is a space in the lower mid-market for a high quality team to enter. We have developed our investment approach at two of the leading firms, working alongside some of the most talented people in the industry. Our aim is to bring this expertise to a less sophisticated part of the UK market.”