Verdane snags fishing hook maker

This is the seventh investment from the Nordic direct secondaries firm's Verdane Capital IX.

Verdane Capital, a Nordic direct secondaries specialist, has used its ninth fund to acquire a majority stake in 140-year-old Norwegian fishing hook manufacturer Mustad & Son.

The company is currently owned by Ard Group, a Norwegian private equity firm. This is the seventh investment from the SKr3 billion ($344 million; €307 million) Verdane Capital IX, the firm’s head of investor relations and business Frida Einarson told Secondaries Investor.

The deal was driven by the rising popularity of recreational fishing among the world’s developing middle class and the growing demand for line-caught fish, for ethical reasons, in some developed markets.

Verdane has upped its stake to take a majority position in another of Ard Group’s portfolio companies, health food chain Sunkost. It currently holds a 50 percent stake.

Fund IX closed last July after five months of fundraising, according to PEI data. Investors in the vehicle include Argentum Asset Management, with a NKr9.8 million ($1.2 million; €1 million) commitment.

The fund’s investment pace is in line with the rate of Verdane’s previous funds, Einarson said. She declined to comment on the degree to which it is invested.

The 2013-vintage, SKr2 billion Verdane Capital VIII made its final investments in May 2016. It picked up 23 investments through seven individual transactions, according to Verdane’s website. Investors in that fund include AP Fonden III and Finnish Industry Investment.

Fund X is “not yet on the agenda,” Einarson added.

Separately, online fashion retailer Boozt, in which the 2010-vintage SKr1.52 billion Verdane Capital VII is an investor, began trading on the main market of the Nasdaq Stockholm on Wednesday.

The firm’s shares priced at SKr62 each, at the top end of the SKr54 to SKr63 guidance range, resulting in a market valuation of around SKr1.4 billion.

Verdane Capital has around €900 million in capital under management and has invested in more than 300 holdings over the past 14 years. The firm has 24 employees working out of offices in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki, according to its website.