Two exits from GPS businesses

3i has completed its third exit in two weeks with the $75m sale of a global positioning systems company it invested in alongside Nordic VC InnovationsKapital.

3i, InnovationsKapital, Germany’s SMAC Partners and management are selling their stakes in software company Nordnav to Cambridge Silicon Radio for $75 million (€58 million), a statement said.


GPS: Two deals in one day

InnovationsKapital and 3i co-led the first investment round in Nordnav in May 2005.

Nordnav, which was founded in 2002 by researchers from Luleå University in Sweden and America’s Stanford University, develops and licenses software receivers for global positioning systems (GPS).

3i co-founded Cambridge Silicon Radio as part of a syndicate including Amadeus Capital Partners in 1999 and floated the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2004.

Arma Partners, an independent investment bank, provided financial advice to 3i, InnovationsKapital and SMAC Partners.

In a second GPS sale announced today, Prelude Trust, an investment trust managed by Esprit Capital Partners, has sold Cambridge Positioning Systems to CSR, a Bluetooth technology company, for $35 million, a statement said.

In October last year, Esprit invested an additional £180,000 (€273,000; $354,000) in Cambridge Positioning Systems as part of a further £750,000 funding round from its existing investors.

Bob Hook, partner at Esprit, said: “We envisaged that location would become an element of mobile handsets and Cambridge Positioning Systems was high performance and low-cost.”

However, he said, only now has location proven key in the mobile industry.

“We thought that a larger corporation was needed to fully exploit the technology and we received acquisition interest.”

Hook told PrivateEquityOnline that the trust did not make a large multiple on its original investment.  He said: “It was profitable but not a huge return.”

Mooreland Capital Partners provided financial advice to Prelude while Baker & McKenzie gave legal advice.

CSR’s financial services came from UBS while Slaughter May gave legal advice.

Esprit Capital Partners was created by the merger of Prelude Ventures and Cazenove Private Equity in June 2006. Esprit has $500 million of assets under management.