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Private equity firm LionRock launches into sports

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Tom Pitts
B. G., Opalesque Geneva:

Hong Kong-based LionRock Capital Partners is launching a consumer/sports private equity fund in partnership with Li-Ning Company Ltd, a Chinese company which makes athletic shoes and sporting goods. Opalesque talked to Tom Pitts, head of LionRock Europe and investment committee member, about this new sports fund.

Opalesque: how much have you raised for the fund?

Tom Pitts: The initial main fund should be soft-closed by the middle of Q2-2020. We've been raising capital for the last three months; to date, we have raised $300mn and hope to reach $1bn through both our GP and the co-investment vehicle. We could get very large given who's behind us if the investment warrants that. Li Ning was our initial investor with $61mn through his listed company. No question, with the sort of assets that we are looking at, those pools of capital that have a history with consumer brands are pushing hard on co-investment rights.

Opalesque: what is your investment philosophy?

T. P.: We like to have a counsel of wise men around us. We have built a very strong co-investment ethic where a number of our investors tend to be quite hands-on and are not afraid to roll their sleeves up and probe the investment thesis. Maybe it's our Catholic roots, but I think a certain......................

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