Bonderman-backed ACON Eyes First Close On Fund III

Firm: ACON Investments

Fund: ACON Equity Partners III LP

Target: $600 million

Amount Raised: $200 million

ACON Investments plans to hold a first close of more than $200 million on its third fund sometime in the next couple of weeks, two sources told Buyouts.

Such a closing suggests ACON is off to a promising start in raising capital for its third fund, for which it hopes to raise $600 million. The firm started reaching out to potential new investors for ACON Equity Partners III LP only in August, a source previously told Buyouts.

The closing would also enable ACON to start tapping the fund for new investments.

ACON’s investors include David Bonderman, the founder of TPG Capital, a big brother firm of sorts with which ACON sometimes invests; TPG also backed an earlier ACON fund focused on Latin America. Other investors in ACON’s previous fund included the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and The New York State Common Retirement Fund.

In 2008, ACON raised $565 million—$375 million for its second fund and a $190 million sidecar vehicle to co-invest in deals larger than it typically would seek with the main fund. The buyout fund was generating a 22.37 percent IRR as of March 31, according to CalSTRS.

The firm typically invests $20 million to $150 million, often to acquire energy and energy services-related companies, Latin American companies and companies that serve the U.S. Hispanic population. Founded in 1996, ACON has offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Madrid.

ACON joins Thoma Bravo as another firm that LPs have recently received warmly on the fundraising trail. Thoma Bravo began fundraising its 10th fund after Labor Day and has received so much interest from investors it will likely raise as much as $1.2 billion, sister Web site peHub reported.

ACON is led by Bernard Aronson, a founder and managing partner who formerly was an adviser to Goldman Sachs on Latin America; Ken Brotman, a founder and managing partner who was formerly a partner at another buyout shop, Veritas Capital; Jonathan Ginns, a founder and managing partner and former managing consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton; Guillermo Bron, a managing partner who previously founded another firm, Los Angeles-based Bastion Capital; and Daniel Jinich, a managing partner who was previously a senior investment professional at Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.