Italy's Nextalia raises $635 mln in first close of new private equity fund

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LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Italian asset management firm Nextalia has raised more than 500 million euros ($564.5 million) in the first close of its newly launched private equity fund focused on mid-market deals in the euro zone's third-largest economy.

Nextalia, led by former Mediobanca banker Francesco Canzonieri, said on Friday it had raised an overall 563 million euros and aims to reach a hard cap of 800 million euros in equity commitments in the first half of 2022.

The fundraising ranks as the biggest first closing for a newly established private equity firm in Italy where the economy is rebounding quickly from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to 191.5 billion euros in grants and loans from the EU Recovery Fund. read more

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Canzonieri said his business venture was leveraging on a network of "strong relationships across the business community" and "an industrial approach to long-term sustainable value creation." He added that the private equity industry is a key enabler to the growth and success of Italian enterprises.

The Milan-based investment company has raised cash from a broad spectrum of private investors with more than 15 banks and insurance companies providing roughly 45% of the overall commitments for its first closing and more than 10 pension funds and banking foundations ploughing in another 20% of commitments.

Canzonieri, a shrewd dealmaker who started his career at Goldman Sachs in 2000, set up Nextalia earlier this year and secured regulatory approval from the Bank of Italy in July.

His investment platform aims to take majority stakes in Italian businesses with high-growth potential and was launched with the help of Italy's biggest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, insurer UnipolSai Assicurazioni, farming association Coldiretti and venture capital firm Micheli Associati.

Nextalia said it had reinforced its nine-strong investment team - which includes former DC Advisory Italy CEO Alberto Vigo and ex-Clessidra Managing Director Matteo Ricatti - with a new director who joins the company in January. It also added information technology professor Vincenzo Morabito to its panel of industrial advisers.

($1 = 0.8858 euros)

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Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Porter

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