CVC seeks single-asset continuation fund for Italian university group

CVC initially backed Multiversity in 2019 before acquiring 100% of the online university group in 2021.

CVC Capital Partners, which raised the private equity industry’s largest-ever fund last year, is seeking to tap the secondaries market to maintain its hold of a star-performing asset.

The Luxembourg-headquartered firm is running a single-asset continuation fund process, four sources told Secondaries Investor. The asset is Italian online university group Multiversity, which CVC wants to move into a separate vehicle, according to two of the sources.

CVC acquired a 50 percent stake in Multiversity in 2019 from its €16 billion CVC Fund VII and later acquired the remainder of the business in 2021, according to transaction statements. In 2022, the group acquired a third university, Università Telematica San Raffaele Roma, for €177 million.

The size of the secondaries transaction is unclear.

Multiversity is understood to be one of the best-performing assets in CVC’s portfolios, one of the sources familiar with the transaction said. Given that the firm only acquired full ownership of the business in 2021, CVC believes there is further room for growth under the firm’s ownership. The firm’s chief executive, Fabio Vaccarono, and other C-suite executives have only been in their posts for a limited time, the source added. Vaccarono joined Multiversity in December 2021, according to his LinkedIn.

Lazard is advising CVC on the process. CVC and Lazard declined to comment.

It is understood that LPs will be given the option to roll or sell in the transaction. It is unclear at this stage whether a hybrid option will be provided.

LPs that have backed Fund VII include Alaska Permanent Fund, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and State of Wisconsin Investment Board, according to PEI data.

CVC closed its latest flagship, CVC Capital Partners IX, on €26 billion last year. CVC owns Glendower Capital, which raised more than $5 billion for Glendower Secondary Opportunities Fund V – more than its initial $4.5 billion hard-cap and $3.5 billion target last year, Secondaries Investor reported.

Lazard advised pan-European mid-market investor Oakley Capital on a similar transaction last year, moving German university group IU Group into a €1 billion-plus continuation fund. TPG GP Solutions, HarbourVest Partners, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Glendower Capital and Pantheon were among those backing the fund.

– Adam Le contributed to this story