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July 23, 1991

BUYOUTS TOOK THE LION’s SHARE OF 3i’s INVESTMENT IN COMPUTER FIRMS LAST YEAR

By CBR Staff Writer

Britain’s leading venture capital company, 3i Plc, owned by the Clearers and the Bank of England, says it invested UKP22m in 74 computer companies in the year ended March 31, bringing its current investment in the sector to over UKP82m. Reflecting the on-going recession, last year’s figure is down from UKP31m in the previous year. Total 3i investment in 1990-91 amounted to UKP382m, down from UKP597m, and return revenues stood at UKP38.2m, down 36% from UKP59.4m in 1989-90. Management buy-outs were the largest recipient of 3i financing, accounting for UKP106m, while start-up companies received UKP25m in funding. Computer businesses benefitting from 3i’s confidence include Rainow, Cheshire-based Eden Group Ltd, which put its UKP1.5m handout to work on the conti nued development and marketing of its Papertalk pen-based computer – 3i has been supporting Eden since its start-up 18 months ago. Another benefactor was Hitchin, Hertfordshire-based Software Generation International Ltd, a supplier of tools to the IBM large systems marketplace. Software Generation received UKP500,000 of backing, which it ploughed into establishing a dealer network throughout the mainland. And Unix computer supplier Apex Systems of Lutterworth won UKP600,000 to move to new premises. The over-riding factor in determining the direction of investment in computer companies, says 3i, is not the technology – 3i will only put its backing behind good management teams.

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