Joe Whitfield
Posted on 29 Aug 2019

Michelmores advises Soros Economic Development Fund on sale of majority stake in Aspada Investment Company to LGT

Michelmores has advised Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), the impact investment fund established by billionaire George Soros, on the sale of its majority stake in the Indian venture capital firm, Aspada, to LGT, the investment management company owned by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, for an undisclosed sum.

SEDF is the social impact investment arm of the Open Society Foundations—one of the world’s largest private funders of organizations and initiatives that support human rights, democracy and accountability. Established in 1997 and now part of Open Society’s Economic Justice Program, the fund makes impact investments aimed at creating economic opportunities for those who face systemic discrimination or exclusion, with the purpose of supporting the Foundations’ core mission of promoting open, tolerant and democratic societies across the world.

LGT (originally known as the Liechtenstein Global Trust) is one of the largest family-owned private banking and asset management groups in the world, holding $201 billion of assets. The purchase of Aspada is LGT's second acquisition in India this year, as the bank expands its impact investing activity into companies providing goods and services to people who live on a few dollars a day.

SEDF established Aspada in 2013 to be an active investor in high impact businesses in India with approximately $100 million in assets. It provides early stage venture capital to teams building innovative, disruptive businesses that provide access to capital, markets, and essential services, in a portfolio that spans agricultural supply chains, logistics, financial services, education and healthcare. 

The Michelmores team was led by Partner Joe Whitfield, supported by Nirav Patel and Edwin Richards.

Joe Whitfield, who heads Michelmores' Impact Investing team, commented: "Soros Economic Development Fund is an impact fund of global importance which has completed an impressive number of investments through the Aspada Investment Company since its inception. These have supported crucial projects across India, creating a positive social and environmental impact for many communities. It was a pleasure to work with Sean Hinton (CEO at SEDF), Jamie Beaver (Director of Finance and Operations at SEDF), and their team and other advisers in getting Aspada under the stewardship of LGT for the next stage of its exciting journey."

Sean Hinton, CEO of SEDF said: “We are pleased to have completed this deal with Michelmores’ advice, and to be partnering with LGT to take Aspada to the next stage of its exciting growth. This was a complex transaction in which we had to ensure at every stage that we never compromised the impact the businesses are having on poor and marginalized communities.”

SEDF was advised by Michelmores, EY, Tatva Legal (India) and Benoit Chambers (Mauritius).

LGT was advised by Goodwin Procter, Deloitte, AZB Partners (India), BLC Robert (Mauritius).

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