Brazos Fund III Closes With $700M In Commitments

Brazos Private Equity Partners LLC has closed a third fund, garnering commitments of more than $700 million to buy family-controlled businesses in the southwestern United States.

Brazos Equity Fund III closed at its hard cap, well above an initial target of $600 million, and the fund was “significantly oversubscribed,” according to the firm. The fundraising effort took about six months, according to Randall Fojtasek, a co-founder and partner with the firm. He told Buyouts that substantially all of Brazos Private Equity’s prior limited partners re-upped, while a number of new investors also committed. Prior backers have included Aetna Inc., Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Robeco Group, according to Dow Jones & Co.

With Fund III closed, Brazos Private Equity now has about $1.4 billion in capital under management. The Dallas-based mid-market shop, which acquires companies with enterprise values of between $50 million and $400 million, invests in manufacturing, consumer, health care, distribution and financial services sectors. The firm seeks to invest between $15 million and $100 million in companies generating annual revenue of between $50 million and $500 million. Other criteria for target companies include seasoned management teams, leading market position in a well-defined industry niche, sustainable competitive advantages and growing cash flow.

Fojtasek said he remains optimistic about the deal environment despite Wall Street’s recent travails. “We believe it’s a great time to have fresh capital,” he said. “This kind of upheaval in the market tends to create substantial opportunities.” Fojtasek was also bullish about the firm’s region of emphasis. “The Southwest is a robust and vibrant part of America,” he said. “We think it will continue to see growth that outpaces most other areas of the country.”

Brazos Private Equity was founded in 1999. The firm is now led by co-founders Fojtasek, Patrick McGee and Jeff Fronterhouse, as well as Michael Salim, a partner who came on board in 2002. The shop’s first fund closed in 2000 with capital commitments totaling $250 million and its second fund closed in 2005 with capital commitments of $400 million. As to the performance of those funds, Brazos Private Equity said in a press release that the distributions have “substantially exceeded” invested capital for Fund I and that Fund II is fully committed. Prior to the founding of Brazos Private Equity, Fojtasek was the chief executive officer of building products maker Atrium Cos. Fronterhouse was a principal of Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.

Portfolio companies include Ancillary Healthcare Solutions, a provider of pharmacy benefit management services and other medical products and services; Collins Financial Services, a purchaser and re-seller of consumer debt; Ennis Paint, a traffic paint and road marker supplier; Fuel Systems, a fuel tank manufacturer; Golden County Foods, a maker of frozen appetizer products; Impact Confections, a candy company; Morton Industrial Group, a metal components maker; and Walls Industries, a provider of work wear and sporting apparel.