Atlas Blazes Past Target For Premier Fund

Firm: Atlas Holdings

Fund: Atlas Capital Resources LP

Target: $250 million

Placement Agent: Capstone Partners

Atlas Holdings LLC, a Greenwich, Conn.-based shop that buys companies in trouble, has closed its first fund at $365 million, well above its initial $250 million target.

The firm, which previously bought businesses as a holding company, owns eight companies generating approximately $1 billion in revenue. Its executives decided to raise money from institutional investors because of what they see as an unprecedented opportunity. “In 30 years of doing this, my perspective is that what’s upon us is the most attractive investment period I’ve seen in my career,” Andrew Bursky, managing partner, told Buyouts.

Atlas Holdings aims to resuscitate down-and-out businesses in a variety of industrial sectors, including building materials, industrial packaging and steel mill services, often buying them out of bankruptcy or through out-of-court restructurings. The firm began raising the fund, Atlas Capital Resources LP, in the third quarter of 2009, arguably the most difficult moments in fundraising history.

Bursky attributed the firm’s fundraising coup with a successful investment track record, a cohesive management team, and a consistent strategy. The firm has returned an average of 4x its invested capital on two full realizations, as well as some partial realizations, he said. “We’ve demonstrated over long periods of time that we don’t change our stripes to [pursue] the flavor of the month,” he said.

Bursky co-founded Atlas Holdings in 2002 alongside Timothy Fazio. The pair had worked together for more than a decade before launching the firm, first at Interlaken Capital Inc., a value-oriented private equity firm, and most recently, from 1999 to 2002, at Pegasus Capital Advisors LP, another firm that targets distressed assets, where Bursky was a co-managing partner and Fazio was a principal and vice president. Today, Atlas Holdings has 16 investment professionals and 34 operating partners.

Atlas Holdings executives expect to cut equity checks of $50 million to $75 million, which should net around seven or eight companies for the fund. About 16 institutional investors invested in the new vehicle.

Capstone Partners, a Dallas-based placement agency, helped Atlas raise the fund.