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Private Equity Firm Goes Public (Investing, That Is)

U.K. private equity giant 3i is looking to make a big splash by investing in public companies.

U.K. private equity giant 3i is looking to make a big splash by investing in public companies. The London-based firm is gearing up to cash in on what it claims is a sector with a market capitalization approaching $100 billion – small- and mid-sized publicly listed European companies. The idea, according to Financial News, is to acquire “influential stakes” in the companies -- consumer and industrial ones, for starters -- and offer them “private equity-style management.” 3i CEO Philip Yea waves off any suggestions that the new division smacks of an activist hedge fund, drawing a distinction by telling FN, “They tend to spend their time militating for change, whereas we will be a supportive shareholder against an agreed agenda that we will stick with.” The venture comes with an all-star cast: Bruce Carnegie-Brown, currently an independent non-executive director at Close Brothers Group and former CEO of Marsh and a bigwig at JPMorgan Chase’s European debt capital markets business, will head the group’s management committee. He will be joined by Stephen Hill, former CEO of Betfair and Financial Times; Richard Segal, previously head of PartyGaming; and 3i’s own buyout veteran Alan McKay

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