DANONE Group, VALORIS and the two European private equity investors -- CVC Capital Partners and GIMV -- have created "CHRYSALEAD", a EUR 58 million Internet incubation fund.

Drawing on the complementary competencies of an industrial group, a specialist in new technologies and two financial investors, "CHRYSALEAD" will be an incubator of a different kind where entrepreneurs will be at the service of entrepreneurs. "CHRYSALEAD" will invest at an early stage in the life of its portfolio companies, each company immediately benefiting from managerial and technical which aims at accelerating its development. The shareholders of "CHRYSALEAD" will also support the start-ups by giving them access to their respective know-how and European networks.


  • VALORIS recognised expertise in new technologies will be used for the screening of new projects and the coaching of portfolio companies


  • CVC Capital Partners and GIMV will contribute their financial sophistication and the range of opportunities available to large international investors


  • DANONE Group will contribute its marketing expertise and access to specific commercial partnerships


  • Daniel Pinto, former Executive Director of the investment bank UBS Warburg in France, will be Chief Executive Officer of "CHRYSALEAD". The founding partners' team is also comprised of Jacques Le Gendre, co-founder and former General Manager of Econocom France, and Eric Clairefond, co-founder and former Deputy General Manager of Societe Generale Finance Developpement.

    THE SHAREHOLDERS DANONE Group:

    With consolidated sales of EUR 3.3 billion, DANONE Group is a global food company specialised in 3 businesses:

    World number 1 in fresh dairy products
    World number 2 in bottled water
    World number 1 in sweet biscuits

    The group's rapidly expanding international business now account for nearly 30% of sales. Four of its brands -- Danone, Evian, Lu, Galbani -- represent over 50% of sales. The Danone brand alone generates EUR 4.1 billion in sales.

    In May 2000, Marie-Pierre Rogers joined DANONE Group as a Director in charge of Internet activities.

    VALORIS:

    Valoris is the leading European "e-Client company" through its activities in strategic management consulting, the implementation and integration of IT systems, the supervision of innovation programmes, the definition of interactive marketing and communication concepts. Founded in 1988, Valoris is at the heart of the new economy. Today, the group employs close to 1000 people and has established a European network (Paris, Lyon, London, Brussels, Antwerp and Barcelona)

    GIMV:

    GIMV was set up in 1980 and has been listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange since June 1997. The Venture Capital and Corporate Investment departments of GIMV provide risk capital for more than 300 industrial, commercial and service companies, to promote innovation and growth respectively. GIMV operates from Flanders through an international network in Europe, the USA and Asia. As per 31 December 1999, GIMV's consolidated equity amounted to some EUR 800 million, while the net asset value was nearly EUR 2 billion.

    CVC Capital Partners:

    CVC Capital Partners is the leading independent private equity group in the UK and Continental Europe. Founded in 1981 as Citicorp's European private equity arm, CVC carried out its own management buyout in 1993. Today, CVC has offices in 10 European countries and a team of 50 investment professionals. Since 1981, CVC has acquired over 200 companies for a total consideration of 30 billion euros and currently manages funds of EUR 4.1 billion. CVC recently announced the launch of a new 3.5 billion euros European fund. CVC has a number of Internet related investments such as Luckysurf.com, William Hill and Aston IT.

    MANAGEMENT TEAM


    Jacques LE GENDRE

    44, DEA in Economics and a graduate of ESG, Jacques Le Gendre held management positions at IBM and then at ECS. In 1985, he co-founded ECONOCOM France. In 1989, he founded TELEASE, a company specialising in telecommunication services and consulting as well as in company networks. In early 1995, he founded OWNER, a real estate development company.

    Eric CLAIREFOND

    35, graduate of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Master in Finance from ESCP. Eric CLAIREFOND started his career in management consulting at Andersen Consulting and then at Eurogroup Consultants. In 1992, he co-founded Societe Generale Finance Developpement, a subsidiary of the bank Societe Generale specialising in mergers and acquisitions in emerging countries.

    Daniel PINTO

    34, graduate of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, DESS in Finance from Universite Paris Dauphine, MBA from Harvard Business School. Daniel Pinto is a former Executive Director of UBS Warburg's corporate finance division in London and Paris where he was responsible for M&A and capital market transactions, notably in media and technology. Daniel Pinto also launched an Internet company specialising in online marketing and promotion.

    CONTACT: Groupe Danone, Direction de la Communication, +33-1-44-35-20-70, or +33-1-44-35-20-74, or fax, +33-1-45-63-88-22; or Olivier Labesse of DGM, +33-1-40-70-11-89, for Valoris.