Shackleton offloads former 3i venture stake

The direct VC secondaries firm has exited mobile payment business Macalla a year after making the investment.

Shackleton Ventures, a UK-based venture secondaries player, has sold mobile payment business Macalla, which it purchased along with other assets from private equity firm 3i in August 2008.

Shackleton sold Macalla, which provides financial services software for mobile phones, to Roamware, a provider of data roaming systems for mobile telecoms operators, for a mixture of cash and shares.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but a spokesman for the firm described the one-year deal as “profitable”.

Hugh Stewart, Shackleton’s managing partner, said in an interview he was pleased to have exited the investment in just 364 days and that a trade sale was always the preferred exit route. He added that he expects the supply of direct secondary opportunities in the venture capital space to increase.

“We will see more opportunities over the next 12 to 18 months as funds raised in ‘99 and 2000 come to their tenth anniversary. There may be more consolidation and increased pressure from investors to make realisations,” he said.

Since it was launched in 2006, Shackleton has made a number of direct secondary acquisitions from 3i as the listed buyout firm continues to wind down its venture activities.

In April 2008, it bought a portfolio of 13 investments from the 3i in the debut deal from its £25 million second fund. The portfolio includes investments such as Steve Vick International, which develops and repairs underground pipes, and Lewar Marine, which manufactures rigging and deck equipment for yachts.

The Shackleton exit follows news earlier this week of 3i’s deal to sell a chunk of its European venture portfolio to two major secondaries players, Coller Capital and HarbourVest Partners. The portfolio, which comprises around 30 investments including hotel website FastBooking, will be managed by DFJ Esprit’s new direct secondaries arm, Encore Ventures.

The sale was part of 3i’s continuing effort to exit the venture capital market and improve the health of its balance sheet. In April another venture secondaries firm, Cipio Partners, bought a portfolio of 10 venture capital investments from 3i for around €18 million.