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17 January 2008

Exponent announces final closing of second fund in excess of £800 million

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Exponent Private Equity today announces the final closing of its second fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners II, LP, with commitments of £805 million. This fund doubles the amount raised in the first fund in 2004.

Exponent Private Equity is an independent investment business dedicated to UK private equity and was founded in 2004 by Richard Campin, Chris Graham, Hugh Richards and Tom Sweet-Escott.

Exponent has now committed more than 80% of its first fund to eight investments - these include the acquisition of the TSL Education business from News International for £235 million in October 2005 which was then sold to Charterhouse in May 2007; the acquisition of Discovery Group Limited, which trades as Durrants Media Monitoring, from August Equity for £82 million in April 2006; the acquisition of Group GTI, Europe's leading graduate recruitment publisher and online application systems provider in June 2006; the acquisition of Trainline from Virgin for £163m in June 2006, the acquisition of V-Holdings in March 2007; the acquisition of Cardsave in August 2007; and most recently the acquisition of Britain's leading handbag brand, Radley for £130 million.

Capital came from a broad spread of experienced and sophisticated investors based in the UK (29%), continental Europe (22%), the US (42%) and rest of world (6%), many of which had also invested in the first fund. Investors included funds managed by Pathway, Pantheon Ventures, Danske Private Equity, MassPRIM, OMERS Capital Partners, NYL Capital Partners and Bank of Scotland, as well as substantial US endowment and European private family sources.

Exponent will continue to focus on investing in larger, more complex mid market buy-outs of UK companies and can commit up to £200m in any one transaction.

The Exponent team commented: “We are very pleased with the support that we have received both from existing investors and those who have committed to us for the first time. We have built up a very strong team over the last 3 years and now is a tremendous time to be deploying capital. Challenges in the debt markets are impacting deal pricing and the mid-market remains an attractive and active place to invest.”

The fund's legal adviser was Debevoise & Plimpton and the placement agent was Helix Associates Limited (a Jefferies company).