BlackFin Capital Partners announces its third investment by taking a minority stake in Kepler Capital Markets, an independent, pan‐European, equity and fixed‐income broker

After acquiring Moneo (prepaid payment cards) and taking a minority stake in Owliance Group (outsourcing platform for insurance companies), BlackFin continues to roll‐out its investment strategy by taking a minority stake in Kepler Capital Markets (“KCM”).

In order to finance its growth plans, KCM is increasing its capital by € 57 million via the entry of BlackFin Capital Partners and three co‐investors who will together hold a minority stake of 49.9% in the group. The balance will continue to be held by the employees and managers of KCM. The new shareholder structure reinforces the company’s independence over the long term. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals.

Laurent Quirin, CEO and founder of Kepler Capital Markets in 1997, stated: ‘Kepler is already the leading and only truly independent European broker specialising in Equity Brokerage, Fixed Income and Derivatives, both in the primary and secondary markets. It was important for us to preserve our independent, pure agency and conflict‐free business model while bringing on board investors such as BlackFin Capital Partners. The capital increase, combined with BlackFin’s expertise as a financial services focused fund, will provide the opportunity to make synergistic acquisitions which will help us to grow the company.’

The first expansionary move which takes place thanks to the capital increase is the pooling of the equity brokerage business of Gruppo Banca Leonardo in Italy with KCM’s existing brokerage activity in Milan. The plan is to create the leading broker in Italy.

Laurent Bouyoux, President of BlackFin Capital Partners, commented: ‘BlackFin is delighted to become a key partner with the management team at Kepler. This experienced and strong team has shown an impressive ability to successfully execute projects in a highly competitive environment by leveraging Kepler’s unique European franchise. I see great opportunities to grow this franchise in the near future, and the new resources we bring will allow Kepler to seize these opportunities either via organic growth or through targeted acquisitions’.

With three investments onboard, BlackFin Capital Partners continues to raise funds from institutional investors in France, Europe and the United States. The fund is expected to close on June 30th 2011 at €250 million.

About Capital Markets (

Created in 1997, Kepler Capital Markets (‘KCM’) is a leading, independent European financial services company. Prior to today’s announcement, the firm was 100% owned by employees and management following a management‐led buy‐out in December, 2008. The firm consists of 330 employees. KCM is active in equity research and brokerage, fixed income, derivatives, asset management advisory and corporate finance.

KCM has built a reputation for the quality and independence of its research and intermediation via its multi‐local platform in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Zurich and New York.

About BlackFin Capital Partners

BlackFin Capital Partners is a Private Equity firm taking influential stakes in financial sector SMEs (intermediation, asset management, insurance brokerage, service providers, etc.) across continental Europe.

BlackFin Capital Partners thus intends to sponsor successful management teams by bringing them growth capital and expertise to benefit from the consequences of an ongoing financial crisis and to help them make the most of all the opportunities this sector offers.

An independent firm, BlackFin Capital Partners is run by its four founders. Laurent Bouyoux, its Chairman, was a Partner with Aquiline Capital Partners and previously a co‐founder, together with Eric May and Paul Mizrahi, of the ProCapital – Fortuneo group, a leading online broker and securities processing provider. They were joinded by Bruno Rostain, CEO of Aviva France until September 2008, to set‐up BlackFin Capital Partners.