Actis said to have secured investor nod to acquire two Abraaj funds

Visual from Abraaj website

Actis received investor approval to take over two funds managed by the collapsed Abraaj Group, clearing a major hurdle for the emerging-market investor to complete a deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

London-based Actis last week got the 75% of investor support required to take over the $1.6 billion Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV and the $990 million Africa Fund III, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A final deal hasn’t been agreed and may take at least a few more weeks to complete, they said.

Until last year, Dubai-based Abraaj was the Middle East’s biggest private equity fund and one of the world’s most influential emerging-market investors, with investments across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Turkey. At its peak, it managed $14 billion of assets, but was forced to file for insolvency last year after being accused of misusing investor funds. Six executives now face racketeering and securities-fraud charges in the U.S.

The Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV has been identified by U.S. prosecutors as one of several in which money was misused to cover liquidity shortfalls elsewhere in the group. Deloitte LLP, one of Abraaj’s liquidators, didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

Fund Sales

Liquidators have been trying to sell Abraaj funds with mixed success. Colony Capital acquired Abraaj’s Latin American operations earlier this year and TPG took over the health fund. Sales of funds in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa are ongoing.

Actis has been working with Abraaj’s liquidators since last September to take over five funds, including Abraaj’s North Africa fund. That’s no longer being managed by Abraaj and Deloitte, which could complicate a deal, one of the people said.

Actis, which invests in Africa, Asia and Latin America, was spun out of CDC Group, the U.K. government’s development-finance institution, in 2004. It has raised $15 billion and currently has 70 portfolio companies, according to its website.

Bloomberg