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Richard Branson takes first step into private equity with $600 million fund

  • Richard Branson is to partner with Metric Capital on a private equity fund.
  • It will seek stakes in firms with consumer-facing businesses.
  • The billionaire will focus on U.S. and European firms.
Richard Branson
Lisa Maree Williams | Getty Images
Richard Branson

The billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is to take his first foray into the world of private equity.

The Virgin Group founder is to partner with London-based Metric Capital in managing a new fund which will seek stakes in firms with consumer-facing businesses, such as food and beverage, luxury, and leisure.

First reported in the Financial Times, and confirmed to CNBC by a source close to the matter, the partnership will seek to raise 500 million euros ($600 million) from institutional investors and will focus its bets on Europe and the United States. Metric Capital declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Branson has reportedly known the founder of Metric Capital, John Sinick, for more than twenty years.

"I have been impressed by the development and growth of Metric Capital," Branson said in a statement provided to CNBC by the Virgin Group.

"Their experience in the rapidly changing consumer and digital markets is particularly attractive and I look forward to helping John and his team with this new fund."

The fund, believed to be the first of three to be launched in the coming years, will target returns of 20 percent.

The Financial Times also reported that the fund is to donate 10 percent of profits to women's and children's charities.