Neuberger closes Italian single-asset deal

Milan-based NB Renaissance Partners sold down part of its stake in a 'covid-proof' engineering business to a group of secondaries investors.

Neuberger Berman‘s Italian private equity business has closed a rare covid-era fund restructuring.

NB Renaissance Partners sold its entire stake in Italian IT services business Engineering Ingegneria Informatica and reinvested in the company through a different fund, according to a statement.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, NBRP rolled most of its stake into a fund backed by a group of secondaries investors. Lazard advised on the deal, which was worth around €350 million in total new equity.

Neuberger owned roughly half of the business, Secondaries Investor understands. Buyers include secondaries firms, family offices and insurance companies, many of which were existing LPs of NBRP and the Neuberger Berman Group.

Apax Partners, which held most of the remaining stake in Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, exited to Bain Capital through an M&A process. That deal set the price according to which the secondaries component was syndicated, Secondaries Investor has learned.

“Neuberger Berman wanted to maintain an interest but to sell out of Fund I and reinvest through Fund III [which is in market targeting €1 billion], while raising additional secondaries capital to invest alongside it,” said the source, adding that the company is “a very strong, almost covid-proof asset.”

The syndication was put out to market in April and was 2.5x subscribed, Secondaries Investor has learned.

In December, Reuters reported Bain was close to agreeing a deal with Apax which would value the Rome-headquartered digital transformation specialist at €1.65 billion.

GP-led secondaries activity declined 57 percent to $6 billion in the first half compared with the same period of last year, according to half-year data from advisor Greenhill, as uncertainty over asset valuations drove a wedge between the pricing expectations of buyers and sellers.

NB Renaissance and Lazard did not wish to comment.