(Dealbook) The Brazilian investment firm Bozano Investimentos has raised a new 800 million reais (about US$309m) private equity fund focused on the education sector, in another indication that some investors are looking beyond the country’s current economic travails.
The fund is more than double the size of the last fund the firm oversaw in 2009. It also reached the target that Bozano set earlier this year when it started raising funds.
The new fund, which includes the European media conglomerate Bertelsmann as an investor, is expected to formally close sometime in January, according to three people familiar with the firm’s plans but not authorized to speak publicly.
“They have reached their hard-cap,” meaning the maximum, and “are no longer actively fund-raising,” one person said. Bozano now awaits paperwork and bureaucratic procedures, albeit no simple or sure thing in Brazil.
An email sent to an address on Bozano’s website went unanswered.
The new fund comes as Brazil continues to face tough times. Its economy grew by a meager 0.1 percent in the third quarter of this year after contracting in each of the first two quarters.
Still, private equity fund-raising in Brazil has been robust this year.
Last month, Advent International said it raised a new $2.1 billion fund for Latin America. Earlier this year, Patria Investments, in which the Blackstone Group has a 40 percent stake, closed on a new $1.8 billion fund.
Bozano Investimentos, based in Rio de Janeiro, was formed in 2013 after Grupo Bozano acquired and then merged three investment firms: BR Investimentos, Mercatto Gestão de Recursos and Trapezus Asset Management.
Grupo Bozano, which has a 20 percent stake in the firm, was founded in the early 1960s by Júlio Bozano. It went on to invest in diverse sectors, including airline companies like Azul, which this week once again filed for an initial public offering.
The finance sector was always at its heart, though. The investment bank Banco Bozano Simonsen, for example, was acquired by the Spanish bank Santander in 2000.
Mr. Bozano, a thoroughbred horse racing aficionado, told the Brazilian magazine Exame in 2013, “The Brazilian market has undergone rapid transformations in the last several years, and there is a demand that the financial system enter the real economy.”
Education is one sector where that’s the case. Though for years, it has caught the eyes of investors from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to Advent, those investors have only tapped into one small segment, buying schools.
Bertelsmann was attracted to the new offering by the strong returns on Bozano Investimentos’s 2009 fund — an internal rate of return of 33 percent, as of the end of the first quarter this year, according to one of the people familiar with Bozano’s plans. Bertelsmann is providing about 40 percent of the new education fund’s total capital, another person said. Other investors include Brazilian pension funds and family offices.
BNDES, Brazil’s national development bank, will chip in 120 million reais, or about 15 percent of the fund, another of the people said.
For Bertelsmann, based in Gütersloh, Germany, and which owns European network RTL Group and Penguin Random House among others, the investment is another move in its effort to expand in emerging markets.
It opened an office in São Paulo in 2012. Earlier this year, together with Bozano, it created a 100 million reais venture capital fund, called BR Education Ventures, to invest in education-related technology.