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Exponent scores with £235m publishing deal

Exponent Private Equity, the London-based mid-market investor that closed a £400m buyout fund in August 2004, has completed its first investment.

13 months after closing its maiden private equity fund on £400 million (€595 million; $730 million), London-headquartered private equity investor Exponent Private Equity has secured its first investment.

The group has agreed to purchase TSL Education, a business-to-business publisher, for £235 million. The transaction comes after Exponent narrowly missed out on a number of acquisition targets, including BBC Broadcast, the BBC’s digital media business that was recently sold to Macquarie Capital Alliance Group.
 
Terms of the TSL deal have not been disclosed. No one at Exponent was immediately available for comment.
 
The firm has repeatedly stated that it would aim to assemble a concentrated portfolio of assets and to invest up to £100 million of equity per transaction. The TSL acquisition, given its overall size, is likely to be in line with this strategy.
 
Founded by former 3i executives Tom Sweet-Escott, Richard Campin, Hugh Richards and Chris Graham, Exponent was one of the most successful fundraisers in 2004, completing its campaign less than five months after its official launch.
 
Advised by Helix Associates, the placement agent, Exponent attracted backing from investors including Allianz Private Equity, HarbourVest Partners, Hermes Private Equity, LGT Capital Partners and Massachussetts PRIM.
 
TSL was founded in 1910. Its portfolio of titles includes the Times Educational Supplement and the Times Higher Educational Supplement. Combined weekly circulation of the company’s products is 143,000.