Old Mutual Takes Increased Stake in New US Online Distribution for Private Equity Ventures

UK, Nov. 15, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Using proprietary technology, BDirect Capital provides a platform for investment professionals and accredited individuals to participate in the same types of private equity investment opportunities as large institutions. Bringing together sophisticated, high net worth individuals, their financial advisors, and well-respected private equity firms, BDirect Capital will offer, through wholly-owned BDirect Securities, Inc. (member NASD/SIPC), pooled investments with a minimum subscription typically of $25,000.

Pooling investment capital from accredited individual investors, BDirect Capital channels the combined purchasing power into selected investment opportunities identified from funds offered by well-respected leveraged buy-out firms, venture capitalists and investment banks. This method of investing allows accredited investors to participate in deals traditionally available only to institutions and the super rich.

Participation in this financing brings Old Mutual's stake in BDirect Capital to $9 million which in total represents a 20% holding in that company. Eric Anstee, Chief Executive, Financial Services, Old Mutual plc has agreed to join the board of BDirect Capital.

Eric Anstee commented "The founding partners of BDirect Capital have created a very exciting model which will extend access to alternative investment funds for knowledgeable investors. There is a rapidly growing market internationally for these asset classes and I believe BDirect Capital could play a significant role in building our Asset Management businesses for the future."

Paul Sanabria, a co-founder of Bdirect, added: "By their very nature, private equity investments are illiquid and not suitable for all investors. But with the ability to work with quality fund managers and investment banks, we expect to appeal to a broad class of sophisticated investors who want to make private equity a part of their overall portfolios. Financial advisors and asset managers have never before had a systematic, organized mechanism to access these types of investment opportunities on behalf of their clients. The company will offer its products both through its password-protected website, www.bdirectcapital.com and through selected investment professionals."

Notes for Editors:

On September 25, 2000 Old Mutual completed the acquisition of United Asset Management Corporation of Boston, USA, which has $190bn of assets under management through its affiliates.


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