Unigestion’s latest direct and secondary fund closings reflect strong investor appetite

Unigestion, the independent specialist asset manager, completed the third closing of its direct investment vehicle, Unigestion Direct II, on 19 May, taking the total size of the programme to EUR 375m (EUR 600m final target size). In June, the fund also finalised its second investment. In addition, on 10 June, the firm completed the first closing of its secondary investment vehicle, Unigestion Secondary V, with total commitments of EUR 228m (EUR 700m final target size).

The success of these closings reflects the investor appetite for exposure to direct and secondary deals at the small end of the private equity market in the current economic environment.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic works its way through financial markets, Unigestion expects to see a growing number of attractive opportunities driven by lower valuations, limited debt availability and an increase in motivated sellers.

Both funds continue to attract a reputable and geographically diverse group of investors from North America, Australia and Europe, including prestigious corporations, pension funds and high net worth investors.

Unigestion Direct II

The strategy of Unigestion Direct II is to build a portfolio of direct investments in small and mid-market companies in sectors whose growth is driven by long-term trends. The fund invests in companies which are resilient in their own right thanks to strong market positioning, management and financials. As a result, investors gain exposure to a portfolio of robust companies which are able to implement their growth plans irrespective of market conditions.

Drawing on over 20 years’ experience of direct investing, Unigestion engages in both co-underwritten deals and co-lead/lead deals, alongside its preferred small and mid-market fund managers as well as other investment partners in Europe, North America and Asia. Unigestion takes an active role during due diligence and is able to structure favourable deal terms in most cases.

With a global team of 40 private equity professionals, Unigestion sources direct investment opportunities from its network of more than 500 investment partners, including specialist fund managers, fundless sponsors and other industry experts, as well as directly from business owners.

Unigestion Secondary V

The strategy of Unigestion Secondary V is to invest in small, non-auctioned secondary deals below EUR 50m, focusing on portfolios of high quality companies at attractive valuations.

With over two decades of experience in secondaries, Unigestion is one of the pioneers in the global secondary market. In particular, its expertise extends into tailored and often more complex liquidity solutions.

Unigestion sources secondary opportunities from its broad network of general partners, limited partners, small intermediaries and selected specialist secondary direct managers. Drawing on its vast experience of the global small and mid-market, Unigestion is able to access transactions away from the hunting grounds of other secondary investors. Ultimately, the firm is able to deliver a portfolio of secondary investments that is typically uncorrelated to the broader secondary market.

Unigestion follows a rigorous due diligence process which leads to an emphasis on portfolios of companies with solid business models and visible exit routes. Consequently, returns are driven by future company performance rather than leverage or discounts.

These fund closings are testament to our successful long track record of investing in small and mid-market companies. By targeting small and mid-market companies that operate in attractive sectors where growth is uncorrelated to macroeconomic conditions, we are convinced that we will benefit from the opportunities which will emerge from the extraordinary conditions that we are currently experiencing.

Christophe de Dardel, Head of Private Equity, Unigestion