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Willowridge buys into 2001-vintage Cinven fund

The firm deployed its latest fund, Amberbrook VI, which closed on $400 million in 2012.

Willowridge Partners has bought an interest in the Third Cinven Fund, according to UK regulatory filings.

The stake was purchased from BNY Mellon. However, it is unclear if the stake was part of a larger portfolio and BNY Mellon did not return a request for comment by press time.

The Third Cinven Fund raised €4.3 billion in 2001, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

In 2003 Cinven acquired Fitness First in a £404 million ($633 million; €515 million) take-private. It sold the company to BC Partners for £835 million in 2005, according to media reports. The sale generated a 3.4x return.

The fund has realised several other investments including French cable operator Numericable, which the firm listed on the NYSE Euronext in November 2013. Cinven sold its entire stake in April 2014, giving the firm a 4.7x return on the investment.

Remaining investments include Benelux-based DIY retailer Maxeda. Cinven acquired the company with KKR and Permira Advisers for roughly €2.4 billion in September 2004, according to its website. The trio tried to sell the company last year but final bids came in below expectations, at around €600 million, according to media reports. They were reportedly expecting to sell the company for closer to €800 million.

Fund III was generating a 34 percent gross internal rate of return as of 31 March 2011.

Other LPs which have sold their stakes in Fund II include Pantheon and The New Mexico State Investment Council. Bank of America also sold its stake in the fund, among several other tail-end fund positions, in a portfolio to The Blackstone Group’s Strategic Partners.

Cinven was recently ranked the seventh most in-demand fund manager on secondaries buyers’ wish lists, according to London-based placement agent and advisory firm Cebile Capital. The firm is currently investing its Fifth Cinven Fund, which closed on €5.3 billion in 2012, PEI data disclosed.

Cinven declined to comment.

Willowridge funded the transaction using its Amberbrook VI Fund, which closed on $400 million in 2012. Last year Willowridge also deployed the fund to increase its position in IK 2000. It bought a stake in the €2.1 billion fund from Adveq.

Willowridge is based in New York and has about $900 million of assets under management. Since it was founded in 1995 it has completed over 300 transactions, including stakes in 550 funds.

The firm did not return a request for comment by press time.