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January 13, 2013 9:05 pm
Matt Truman, a former highly rated retail analyst, will today launch True Capital, an investment fund that will commit up to £100m in retail and consumer businesses.
Mr Truman, who has spent the last 10 years analysing and investing in the retail markets, first at Lehman Brothers and most recently at JPMorgan, is well known in the industry and the City. At JPMorgan, he was broker to companies including supermarket chain Tesco and Booker, the food wholesaler.
True Capital is expected to invest in companies able to create niche positions in retail, with high barriers to entry, that are able to grow.
These could include online retailers as well as companies developing and producing technology for the retail supply chain. Luxury goods companies and up-and-coming brands are also expected to be in its sights.
The fund will target equity investments of up to £15m, and will consider commitments in both privately held and listed companies. True Capital, which is FSA regulated and currently raising funds, already has a pipeline of potential deals.
It made its first investment in 2008 in alexandalexa.com, an online luxury childrenswear retailer. It sold its stake three years later for more than 4.5 times invested capital. Today sees the fund’s expansion and formal launch.
The developments come at a tumultuous time for retail, with weak consumer confidence and an increasing shift to online purchasing.
But Mr Truman said the dislocation could create opportunities for a specialist retail fund. “The best returns are made at the time everyone is looking the other way.”
Among the trends Mr Truman is hoping to take advantage of are companies refocusing on their core markets.
“Many multinationals are currently retrenching back to domestic markets as the obsession with the globalisation of retail fades, and pressure from shareholders intensifies,” he said.
Mr Truman will be backed by three operating partners: Paul Cocker, John Hoffman and Chris Spira, who together have investment, advisory and retail experience.
The fund’s advisory committee is made up of Marcel Corstjens, the Unilever Chaired professor of marketing at Insead, former investment banker Guy Harington and John Strachan, global head of retail at Cushman & Wakefield, a property consultancy.
The fund plans to use its network to develop access to investments, rather than rely on the traditional auction route. It also aims to influence the way the companies it invests in operate, and will use real-time data analysis to add value to those companies.
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