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GP Investments to start $1.5 billion fundraising effort — Reuters

(Reuters) – GP Investments Ltd, the Brazilian firm that financier Jorge Paulo Lemann helped found two decades ago, may announce plans to raise over $1.5 billion for four funds involved in private equity, real estate and infrastructure investments, two sources with knowledge of the plan said.

Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could take place as early as this week since the private-equity firm plans to tap U.S.-based investors, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the plans remain private. A public relations executive managing the GP’s media affairs declined to comment.

GP Investments aims to raise about $800 million from investors for a private-equity fund, the sources said.

Around $300 million could be obtained for a fund that invests in Brazilian infrastructure companies and projects, where a dearth of capital is worsening as the economy slows and state-controlled banks pare back lending, they added.

The remainder could be sought for two real estate-related funds, the sources said.

The plans come on the heels of a robust year for fundraising by buyout firms with a focus on Latin America. Advent International Corp, Blackstone Group LP’s partner in Brazil and over 50 firms raised a record $10.4 billion for their Latin

American investments last year, according to Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association data.

Sovereign wealth funds, local and global pension funds, as well as institutional investors, are deploying more money into Brazil-related investment vehicles, industry executives told Reuters this week. As the life cycle of some of its investment vehicles approach their end, new money could boost GP Investments’ ability to buy new assets, the sources added.

“Usually after a strong year of fund raising comes another that’s not so good, but these guys have a strong track record, which should help,” said one of the sources.

Since its inception in 1993, GP Investments has raised $5 billion from investors. A group of bankers led by Antonio Bonchristiano and Fersen Lambranho took over from Lemann and longtime partners Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira in 2003, and have run the firm ever since.

Brazil-born Lemann gained notoriety in recent years after engineering the purchases of HJ Heinz Co, Kraft Food Group Inc and Burger King Corp with Telles and Sicupira through their 3G Capital LP.

Hamilton, Bermuda-based GP Investments has offices in São Paulo, New York and Zurich. The firm invests in private equity, real estate and infrastructure, and has stakes in asset manager BRZ Investimentos Ltda and Swiss investment firm Spice Private Equity Ltd. (Editing by Todd Benson and Andre Grenon)