ABS nabs $314M for sixth fund

ABS Capital Partners, a Baltimore-based private equity firm, has raised $314 million of a proposed $400 million sixth fund, according to a regulatory filing.

The filing did not disclose limited partners, but the general partners are also contributing $18 million to the new fund and using the William Blair Funds Placement Group as a placement agent.

The new fund will be larger than the $300 million ABS Capital raised in 2005, but smaller than the $450 million it raised in 2000.

ABS Capital Partners primarily invests in Internet, software and health care companies with revenue between $20 million and $60 million. Three quarters of its investments are growth equity investments, and about one-fourth of its deal activity is non-leveraged buyouts or recapitalizations.

ABS Capital did well on its investment in Internet school American Public Education (Nasdaq: APEI), in which it co-invested $27.8 million in two rounds with Camden Partners between 2002 and 2005. American Public went public in November 2007 at $20 per share and ABS owned more than 40% of the shares outstanding. The stock has risen to $45 since then.

Another of the firm’s portfolio companies may soon have a liquidity event. ABS Capital backed Metastorm in two rounds during late 2007, helping the company raise $48.9 million. Metastorm has filed for an $86.25 million IPO and disclosed that ABS owns 16.8% of the pre-offer shares.

ABS was founded as an investing entity inside Alex Brown & Sons in 1990 and had its first independent fund in 1993. The firm is separate from Waltham, Mass.-based ABS Ventures, which was also spun out of Alex Brown.

The firm’s general partners include Laura Witt, Ralph Terkowitz, Ashoke Goswami, Frederic Emry, Mark Anderson, John Stobo, Phil Clough and Donald Hebb.