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Ex-England cricketer launches investment firm – Financial News (subscription)

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A former England cricketer has teamed up with a Saudi wealth management veteran to launch an investment fund, FN’s sister publication Private Equity News reports.

Alex Loudon, who cut his dealmaking teeth in the global M&A team of brewing giant SABMiller, set up Abercross Holdings with Issam Hamid, formerly of Jeddah-based wealth manager Saudi Economic and Development Co. They will be joined at the Chelsea-based firm by Andrew Woodhouse, another former SABMiller dealmaker.

Abercross plans to invest in UK-based companies with enterprise values of up to £150m across sectors including consumer, education, healthcare and business services, Loudon said. It signed its first deal in March, taking a minority stake in 114 year-old British tea brand Typhoo.

Loudon, who will lead on deal origination, quit a promising career as a professional cricketer—he represented Warwickshire and was capped once by England—to pursue a career in finance. He has worked as a corporate finance analyst at advisory firm Hawkpoint Partners and as a senior executive in SABMiller’s global M&A team.

Hamid most recently worked as chief investment officer at Sedco, a company launched by the late Saudi billionaire Sheikh Salem Bin Mahfouz. He oversaw the wealth manager’s broad investment strategy as it expanded rapidly under the chairmanship of Sheikh Mohammed following Sheikh Salem’s death in 1994.

Loudon and Hamid decided to go into business together in the summer of 2016 following an introduction by mutual friends. Woodhouse was a colleague of Loudon’s at SABMiller, where he spent 15 years.

Abercross has an evergreen fund structure and has received backing from an entirely non-UK investor base, including an anchor commitment from a number of Middle Eastern family offices, Loudon said.

The firm has cut management fees from the standard 2% of assets typically charged by buyout firms. It will instead bill its backers a fee on invested capital.

Abercross is considering a number of possible investments, and may hire more sector experts to help source deals and work with portfolio companies, Loudon said.

Despite its infancy, the firm has received the backing from a number of City, Westminster and industry heavyweights who will sit on its advisory board.

Tim Farazamand, a veteran private equity investor and a former chairman of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, will provide advice alongside former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Strathclyde and Gerald Corbett, chairman of Britvic and Marylebone Cricket Club.