Foresight VC plans £500m float on London stock exchange

Venture capitalist has £600m of equity investments focused on around 100 regional SMEs

Foresight Group, the London-based venture capital firm, is planning a £500m London float to raise money to buy other fund managers.

Foresight Group Holdings, based in Guernsey, has 13 offices, including its largest in the Shard tower in the City. In addition to its Shard headquarters, Foresight Group has satellite offices in Manchester, Nottingham, Leicester and Milton Keynes.

Foresight manages £600m of private equity investments, focused on about 100 regional small and mid-sized businesses.

It invests anything between £250,000 and £5m in UK SMEs.

Foresight takes minority or majority stakes in companies looking for growth capital, equity release or management buyouts.

In 2018, Foresight analysed over circa 1,500 business plans but only invested in 28 companies (having made offers on over 100).

The firm is sector agnostic and covers business services, consumer, healthcare, industrials and technology/media but favours “slightly unloved but nice high-margin sectors,” partner James Livingston told Growth Business last year.

In addition to its SME private equity investments, Foresight Group manages about £6.1 bn of assets, including the FTSE 250 Foresight Solar Fund, according to The Times.

Jefferies and Numis are understood to have been taken on advise on the proposed London float of Foresight.

Group revenues were £57.3m in the year to March 2020 and it reported “core” earnings — excluding proceeds from divestments — before interest, tax and other charges of £12.9m.

In the six months to September revenues came in at £32.4m with equivalent earnings of £11m.
Foresight Group was founded back in 1984 by former 3i investment managers who raised £20 million for a technology venture capital fund.

Early on, it backed the company now known as SIM card manufacturer Gemalto, which went on to make a 30x return on investment.

Foresight Group was unavailable for comment.

Further reading

What is Foresight Group? – a Growth Business guide

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