Vannin snapped up by US investment manager

Craddock: Several offers for the business received

Litigation funder Vannin Capital – which last year shelved a stock market listing – has now been bought by US investment manager Fortress.

New York-based Fortress, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, has $39bn under management and will acquire 100% of the equity in Vannin from existing shareholders, including majority owner Bramden Investments, a private equity vehicle funded by Isle of Man-based entrepreneur Dan Craddock.

The acquisition, the price of which has not been disclosed, is expected to complete at the end of this month. Fortress already provides Vannin with a secured debt facility.

The plan to float, first announced a year ago, was for the existing shareholders to make 25% of Vannin’s stock available in a bid to raise £70m. However, it was dropped soon after due to volatile market conditions.

The proceeds of the float were to be used to repay in full a £27m shareholder loan by Bramden.

At the time of the potential float, the group had £103m in live commitments, of which 91% was dedicated to single cases, and said it expected to sign off at least £300m of new funding commitments by December 2020.

For the years ended 30 September 2015 to 2017, the company’s income increased at a compound annual growth rate of 42% to £36.5m, operating profit increased at a rate of 32% to £28m and profit after tax increased to £21m at a rate of 22%.

Its most recently announced investment was in July in a Spanish group damages claim related to the European trucks cartel. The deal was believed to be the first of its kind in Spain.

Vannin’s chairman is David Morley, former senior partner of magic circle firm Allen & Overy. It has offices in London, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Paris, Bonn, New York, Washington, Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Craddock, the co-founder and vice-chairman of Vannin, said: “Over the last few months, as we evaluated how best to accelerate future growth, we have received several offers for the business.

“Fortress represented the strongest choice in all respects, not least due to its established position in the market and its long-standing relationship with Vannin.”

Gordon Runté, managing director of Fortress, said: “Vannin has been a leading investor and innovator in the litigation finance space, and we’ve enjoyed our partnership to date.

“We believe this acquisition is a logical next step and natural fit for our business, and it will complement the breadth of our relationships and leadership in the space.”

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