ICG’s Strategic Equity steps up as buyer on CVC’s single asset

LPs will be given the option to roll or sell on CVC’s continuation fund process for Multiversity, which is understood to be €1.5bn-€2bn in size, Secondaries Investor learns.

CVC Capital Partners, which raised the private equity industry’s largest-ever fund last year, has found backing for its single-asset continuation fund transaction.

Intermediate Capital Group‘s Strategic Equity unit has stepped up as sole secondaries buyer on the transaction to move Italian online university group Multiversity into a new vehicle, sources told Secondaries Investor. The continuation fund is understood to be between €1.5 billion and €2 billion in size, two of the sources said.

Secondaries Investor reported in February that CVC was seeking to maintain its hold of Multiversity, which is understood to be one of the best-performing assets in CVC’s portfolios. Lazard is advising CVC on the process; a later statement confirmed Lazard and Morgan Stanley served as financial advisers to CVC.

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.

Spokespeople for ICG, CVC and Lazard declined to comment. CVC did not respond to a follow up request for comment on the specific size of the vehicle at press time.

CVC acquired a 50 percent stake in Multiversity in 2019 from its €16 billion CVC Fund VII before acquiring 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.

Given that CVC only acquired full ownership of the business in 2021, the Luxembourg-headquartered firm believes there is further room for growth under the firm’s ownership, a source familiar with the transaction told Secondaries Investor earlier this year. 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.

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 last year – more than its initial $4.5 billion hard-cap and $3.5 billion target, Secondaries Investor reported.

ICG Strategic Equity also emerged as the sole buyer on New Mountain Capital’s over $1 billion continuation fund for medical data-focused Datavant late last year, Secondaries Investor reported at the time. The GP-led-focused unit of the London-listed asset manager also backed an around $700 million single-asset continuation fund for Onex’s stake in global tax services and software provider Ryan.

ICG Strategic Equity is targeting $6 billion for its latest GP-led focused flagship ICG Strategic Equity Fund V, according to Secondaries Investor data. The launch of the fundraise narrowly followed the close of its predecessor, with the group closing on $5.3 billion for Strategic Equity IV in 2022, surpassing its $5 billion target.

Lazard advised pan-European mid-market investor Oakley Capital on a similar transaction to CVC’s Multiversity continuation fund 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.

This story was updated to include the fact that both Lazard and Morgan Stanley advised CVC on the continuation fund process following the release of a statement after press time.