BCE Spins Out VC Group

Canadian telecom giant BCE has spun out its venture capital group into an independent entity called Summerhill Venture Partners. No big surprise, as BCE chief Michael Sabia has been selling off majority stakes in just about everything BCE owns (TeleSat, CGI, etc.), including BCE itself via a pending $33 billion take-private buyout.

BCE is following the playbook employed last year by Bank of America, when it spun BA Venture Partners out into an independent entity called Scale Venture Partners. It’s even using the same placement agent – Probitas Partners.

What this means is that Summerhill is raising a new fund that will both buy up the existing BCE portfolio, and then use the remaining capital to make new investments. The overall fund target is $175 million, with $141 million already closed and the remainder expected to close next month. BCE is part of the first close, as a cornerstone limited partner.

It also is important to note that the firm – named for the historic Summerhill neighborhood in Toronto – has already completed its spinout from BCE. A VentureWire report this morning incorrectly suggested that the spinout wouldn’t officially occur until Q4.