Natixis Capital Partners completes MBO

The senior management team behind one of the largest French real estate deals of all time, the IPO of Germany’s first REIT and the largest sale and leaseback in Italian history, has bought itself out from a French bank to launch Captiva Capital Management.

The senior management team of Natixis Capital Partners has completed a buyout from its French banking parent to become Europe’s newest fully-fledged independent European private equity real estate firm.

In a big week for European merger and acquisition activity, Natixis Capital Partners said it had renamed itself Captiva Capital Management to become an independent firm with 30 people led by co-founder and managing director John van Oost, with offices in London, Hamburg, Paris, Milan and Luxembourg and €8 billion of deals behind it.

News of the MBO comes within 24 hours of two other noteworthy corporate developments in European private equity real estate, with LaSalle Investment Management completing the transfer of JER Partners’ Europe business and Deutsche Bank revealing yesterday it was in exclusive talks with New York and Chicago firm, Guggenheim Partners, to sell it units of Deutsche Bank Asset Management including RREEF Real Estate.

Natixis Capital Partners was established in 2001 as ‘IXIS Capital Partners’ by van Oost and fellow co-founders Daniel Quai and Roger Lee, with the French bank being the owner and seeding the private equity real estate funds that the team went on to raise.

It changed its name from IXIS to Natixis Capital Partners in 2006 and a year later the senior management team bought a 35 percent stake in the business from its parent. Today’s announcement refers to an agreement to buy the remaining 65 percent. Natixis is only selling its stake in the management firm and is retaining its co-investment in the real estate funds it has under management.

Limited partners in the three funds were unanimously in favour of the deal, said the firm, which went on to say in a statement today it would pursue its long-term strategy of investing and managing capital, through specialised investment funds and customised acquisition programmes.

It continues to manage the Captiva Capital Partners funds and plans to invest over €200 million in 2012 in “attractively-priced” properties in Germany and France, where values can be enhanced through market-driven asset enhancement initiatives.

van Oost said: “The partners felt that the MBO was an attractive solution for the management team and the investors in the funds that we manage.”

The history of Natixis involves making €83 million of principal transactions in European real estate between 2001 and 2003. The firm went on to raise debut vehicle, Captiva Capital Partners I in 2004 with €77 million of capital. The second fund, Captiva Capital Partners II, was raised in 2005 with €400 million of commitments. Then it raised €418 million for Captiva Capital Partners III in 2008. As well as making investments in that fund, it has also been busy acquiring property on a separate account basis for an investor in recent months.

Along the way to raising three funds, there have been some eye catching deals such as the €3 billion purchase of 465 office and technical properties from France Télécom in 2002 – the largest real estate transaction in French history at the time and one of the largest sale & leaseback transactions ever.

In 2004, it executed on a €1.4 billion sale and leaseback of 887 properties from Italian telecoms giant, ENEL – the largest sale leaseback in Italy to date according to the firm. It followed that up in 2006 with a €803 million sale and leaseback of 39 properties in the city of Hamburg. The firm said that constituted the largest sale leaseback transaction with a government in Europe.

Other highlights involve a €412 million IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2007 of Alstria Office REIT – the first German property company to be converted into a real estate investment trust.