Geldof's Africa private equity fund nears $200 mln

Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:55pm GMT

* Fund will look for production opportunities in Africa

* Demographics, natural resources make Africa attractive

By Martin de Sa'Pinto

ZURICH, Aug 29 (Reuters Life!) - Bob Geldof, the former Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid front man, said a private equity fund he agreed to front last year to invest in Africa was nearing its first close, having raised nearly $200 million.

Geldof helped organise the 1985 Live Aid concert, which reached an estimated 1.5 billion people and did much to raise the profile of those suffering from poverty, starvation and disease in Africa.

Geldof said the private equity fund, called 8 Miles, which represents the shortest distance between Europe and North Africa, had attracted increasing attention because of what he called an existential fiscal crisis in the euro zone.

"It's all about globalisation. Without Africa, this whole game stops," Geldof told delegates at a Julius Baer investor conference in Zurich, focusing on growth. "Last month, of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, six were African."

Private equity funds often close to new investors as they deploy the money already gathered, because holding on to large amounts of idle cash while they choose their investments can create a drag on performance.

Geldof said he agreed to help raise money for the fund late last year after discussions with Phillip Pritchard, Chief Executive of CLSA, an Asian brokerage and investment company arm formerly called Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia.   Continued...

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