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Equistone seals first investment since spin-out

Equistone Partners Europe has taken a stake in Audley Travel, its first investment since the Barclays Private Equity team spun out from the bank in November.

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Equistone Partners Europe has taken a stake in Audley Travel, its first investment since the Barclays Private Equity team spun out from the bank in November. 

The Oxfordshire-based travel agent tailors bespoke holidays to customers' needs and generated revenues of £63m (€75.7m) in the year to December 2010. 

Equistone has a record of travel sector investments and currently owns Global Blue. It also sold French online travel agent Karavel-Promovacances for €200m in May 2011. 

This is the first investment that Equistone has made since spinning out four months ago, but the second from Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV, which is part way to reaching its €1.5bn target. 

The firm topped Belgian engineering company Desmet Ballestra up with a €15m recapitalisation in March, and invested in French eye drops pipette manufacturer Unither Pharmaceuticals from its still open fund.

But it agreed to the Unither deal back in October, while still officially under Barclays' wing. 

Barclays Private Equity’s funds I, II and III are now managed by Equistone, which wholly bought out the BPE fund management firm.

The firm, which has raised at least €500m towards its €1.5bn target on its first independent vehicle, last raised €2.4bn in September 2007.

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