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Brazos spinoff CenterOak carries history of deals

  • Brazos veteran Fojtasek leads CenterOak
  • Brazos not planning to raise another fund
  • Fojtasek mum on CenterOak fundraising

Randall Fojtasek, CenterOak’s leader and the co-founder and former co-CEO of Brazos, declined to talk about fundraising plans in a phone interview with Buyouts. Members of CenterOak will contribute capital to the firm, but he would not comment on any dollar figures.

CenterOak’s team will continue to sift for add-ons deals for platform investments completed while at Brazos as they look to finish deploying capital from Brazos Private Equity Fund III, which raised more than $700 million when it closed in 2008.

Three current Brazos portfolio companies featured on CenterOak’s website include distributor BlackHawk Industrial, road paint maker Ennis-Flint and Southern Tide, a lifestyle apparel company. The three companies are “representative predecessor transactions executed by the investment team,” according to CenterOak’s website. The companies all remain in the Brazos portfolio, but CenterOak’s investment team members who were actively involved in those investments will continue to manage them, a spokewoman said.

A total of nine Brazos portfolio companies are included on CenterOak’s website. Five do business in the industrial growth sector, two in consumer and two in business services. (See accompanying table).

“We’re a new firm, with a focus on new investments, but our existing obligations to Brazos investors are in no way diminished,” Fojtasek said. “It’s really just about executing on a strategy that we’ve refined over the last 15 years.”

The team’s primary focus will be managing investments they made from Brazos Equity Fund II and Fund III to the end of their investment life cycle.

“We’re actively looking for add-on deals for platforms at Brazos,” Fojtasek said. In two fresh transaction, Ennis-Flint in June bought Australian color surfacing company TCP for an undisclosed sum. In a second deal, Ennis-Flint also added on Texas-based Weissker, a manufacturer of glass beads for road marking, in a deal that closed earlier in September.

At some point, CenterOak will hunt for investments of $20 million to $70 million of equity per platform for targets with $50 million to $500 million in revenue. It will focus on three sectors: industrial, consumer and business services. It will not carry over two other sectors that Brazos had targeted: healthcare and financial services.

Fojtasek said the new firm takes it name from the large number of oak trees in Dallas, the headquarters of the firm. The center of the tree is the sturdiest part, he noted.

Earlier this year, sister website peHUB reported that Brazos would not be raising a new fund and will wind down its existing portfolio, Michael Salim, partner and general counsel, said at the time.

Salim is among the executives now at CenterOak. Other high-ranking executives include Lucas Cutler, Jason Sutherland and William Henry.