Charlesbank VII Off To Strong Start

Charlesbank Capital Partners, a Boston mid-market firm headquartered within eyeshot of its namesake waterway, appears to be sailing smoothly toward the closure of its seventh buyout fund.

According to a regulatory filing, the firm sold the first shares of Charlesbank Equity Fund VII LP on July 9 and had garnered commitments totaling $833.75 million less than two weeks later. By August 25, the fund had secured more than $1.1 billion, according to the latest regulatory filing. No target for Fund VII—being raised without the help of a placement agent—was listed in the filing. However, published reports in Buyouts and elsewhere have cited fundraising goals of between $1.25 billion and $1.5 billion for the new fund.

A representative of Charlesbank Capital declined to comment for this story, citing a quiet period while fundraising is still underway.

The 18-year-old firm closed its previous investment vehicle, Charlesbank Equity Fund VI LP, in 2005 with $900 million in pledges, while Fund V closed with $590 million in 2001.

Fund VII has a total of 113 investors so far, according to the latest regulatory filing, and it’s receiving a good amount of home-team support. The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board reportedly signed up with a $100 million commitment to the new pool. Also in the Bay State, the Woburn Retirement Board, having been a “satisfied investor” in Charlesbank Capital’s two predecessor funds, gained board approval to make a commitment to Fund VII in July, and has already submitted the required regulatory documents to do so, according to its public meeting minutes.

Elwhere, the StepStone Group, which serves as an investment advisor to the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions, recommended in July that the LP make a $25 million commitment to the new fund. In its recommendation, the La Jolla, Calif.-based advisor cited Charlesbank Capital’s past performance, noting that the firm’s three most recent funds are all “top quartile performers, with net returns in mature portfolios consistently producing cash-on-cash returns of 2.0x and IRRs of over 20 percent.”

Charlesbank Capital typically invests up to $125 million per deal in companies with valuations of up to $1 billion, according to the firm’s Web site. The firm is a generalist in terms of industry experience, having made investments in a variety of areas including consumer products, health care, manufacturing and energy.