Business

Blavatnik-linked managers behind new investment group doing high profile deals

A little known London-based investment group has made several big investments since it was set up six months ago, including participating in a pumped-up round for one of Europe’s most valuable startups.

Bridford Investments has just invested £42 million in UK biotech group Touchlight, which makes so-called “doggybone” (dbDNA) vectors used in genetic medicine production, including mRNA for Covid-19 vaccines. 

But even more high profile was Bridford’s investment in a Series B round worth $600 million for the Swedish sustainable lithium-ion batteries maker Northvolt. The investment group was rubbing shoulders in the round with Goldman Sachs, VW, Swedish high profile investor Cristina Stenbeck, and the family office (PCS Holding) of Swiss billionaire Peter Spuhler. 

This week, Northvolt, only set up in 2016, just received a $14 billion commitment to buy its batteries and investment from VW, making it one of the most prominent cleantech and electric vehicle product makers in Europe.

Two of Bridford’s directors – Jorg Mohaupt and Thomas Harding – appear to have one thing in common: they both worked for Len Blavatnik, the Soviet-born US and UK citizen ranked by Bloomberg as the 35 wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune of more than $38 billion. 

Harding worked for Access Media, part of Blavatnik’s holding and investment group Access Industries, as a partner for 11 years up until a few years ago. Mohaupt has been with Access since 2007, most latterly as head of TMT (technology, media, and telecoms). It’s not clear if Mohaupt is still with Access. Yet, as well as behind some of the investment group’s high profile deals, including Warner Music Group and Deezer, over the many years Blavatnik works him, Mohaupt has made plenty of his investments. 

The UK Companies House register also lists him as the person with significant control of Bridford Investment, which is linked to the Bridford Group. That group has also made numerous investments since it set up in 2014, including Hudson River Biotechnology, Meatable, and LenioBio.

Dutch-born Mohaupt would have built up the capital to be investing on his own account – and he certainly has the wherewithal and experience to invest at a high level. But it also helps to have worked for the likes of Blavatnik, one of the world’s most successful investors. 

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