MIDDLETONS has advised an international investment fund in its investment in Emeis Holdings, the owner of Aesop cosmetics.
Harbert Australian Private Equity is investing in the owner of Aesop, a premium skincare and cosmetics brand operating across Australia, Asia and Europe, is gearing up to invest in a variety of asset classes to build a portfolio.
Middletons’ lead partner, John Mann, described the deal “as a complicated private equity investment involving intricate equity and funding arrangements and the preparation of complex documents.”
The firm conducted an appropriate due diligence process on top of the preparation and negotiation of complex transaction documents on a highly sought-after investment, the firm said.
Pressed as to the outlook in private equity in the upcoming year, Mann said: “2010 will no doubt see private equity take full advantage of the current environment.
"A variety of opportunities exist for private equity funds that are looking to invest, such as Harbert who have the required skill and discipline to be cautious about their investment and selective in regard to opportunities.”
Mann also anticipates private equity to return to basics with smaller deals, as well as more upfront cash.
"Years of copious fundraising in a bull market has given private equity houses more funds than ever to deploy. I do however believe there is no doubt that we will largely see smaller deals put on the table.”
Mann said the equity markets have seen a trend in the out performance of companies exited by private equity as opposed to other models.
While Australia’s private equity sector is less advanced than both UK and US counterparts, Mann said, we can expect to see a growth in the proportion of M&A activity being linked to private equity activity in the years to come.
Mann described Harbert as “methodical in their assessment process, which showed experience and, most of all, discipline".
He said the firm worked closely with the investment teams to manage the due diligence
Middletons’ lead partner, Mann, was assisted by’ partner Craig Sanford on this transaction.
Harbert itself has grown considerably in recent years, with committed capital and assets under management growing from $1.5 billion in 2002 to approximately $2.6 billion as of 1 November, 2009.
Harbert invests with a composition that strives to balance risk and return, Middletons said.