Catterton preps for seventh buyout fund

Catterton Partners plans to raise its seventh fund early next year with a target between $1.25 billion and $1.5 billion, says a source familiar with the firm.

Greenwich, Conn.-based Catterton has invested almost 60% of its $1 billion sixth fund, which closed in 2006. That fund was a substantial increase from its $650 million fifth fund, raised in 2003. Separetely, in March, Catterton closed a $300 million growth fund for smaller deals requiring $10 million to $30 million.

Investors in Catterton funds have included AlpInvest Partners, Colorado Fire & Police Pension Association and the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island.

LPs should be pleased with two notable recent exits from the firm’s portfolio. Earlier this month, the Berwind Group bought natural pet food maker Wellness Pet Foods for about $400 million. Catterton, which bought Wellness Pet Foods for $45 million in 2004, earned about 7x its investment from the sale.

The acquisition was the second notable exit for Catterton in four months. In April, the firm earned more than 4x its money when it sold luxury hair product company Frederick Fekkai & Co. for more than $400 million.

Catterton plans to pursue the same strategy and the same size investments with fund VII. The firm typically cuts equity checks of $30 million to $100 million for North American mid-market companies in the consumer industry. The firm focuses on food and beverages, retail and restaurants, consumer products and services and media and marketing services.

The shop has completed more than 60 investments since its inception in 1990. Among its recent deals is Restoration Hardware Inc., a home furnishing retailer, which it co-invested in with Tower Three Partners in June for about $179 million. —Bernard Vaughan