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Cornell Capital, led by former Goldman Sachs executive, launches Fund II

Cornell Capital Partners II, which has not yet secured commitments, comes less than two years after the close of the firm’s inaugural multi-asset buyout fund at $1.3 billion-plus.

Cornell Capital, founded by Goldman Sachs Group alumnus Henry Cornell, has returned to the market with its sophomore multi-asset buyout fund.

The target of Cornell Capital Partners II and a parallel vehicle was not disclosed in Form D fundraising documents published last week. Cornell began pre-marketing the fund in late 2019 with an initial target of $1.5 billion in mind, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Fund II, which has not yet secured commitments, comes less than two years after the close of Cornell’s inaugural multi-asset fund at $1.3 billion-plus. Fund I, reportedly set to bring in $2 billion, was backed by global investors, among them Cathay Life Insurance and Illinois State Board of Investment, PEI data show.

Prior to Fund I, Cornell raised two special situations pools that together collected almost $1.3 billion, PEI data show.

Henry Cornell launched his namesake firm in 2013 following a nearly three-decade career at Goldman Sachs. Joining Goldman in 1984 as an investment banker, Cornell founded and ran its real estate and principal investment businesses in Asia from 1988 to 2000. In 2000, he became Goldman’s head of private equity, Americas and Asia, and later, vice chairman of the merchant banking division.

Cornell Capital’s strategy is similar to the one deployed by its founder while at Goldman. It invests in upper mid-market companies in the consumer, financial and industrial-business services sectors that are looking to grow organically and through acquisitions. Writing checks of $100 million to $1 billion per deal, the firm sources opportunities in North America and Asia from offices in New York and Hong Kong.

Disclosed Cornell-backed companies total 10, according to the firm’s website. They include MRC Global, a Houston distributor of pipe, valves and fittings, and related products to the energy industry, which in 2015 received a $363 million investment. MRC was held by Goldman before going public in 2012.

Other investments include Talcott Resolution, a Windsor, Connecticut, life insurance and annuity business carved out of The Hartford in 2018 in a deal valued at $2 billion-plus. In the same year, Cornell led the acquisition of KDC, a Canadian maker of beauty, personal care and household products, from Novacap for more than C$1 billion ($710 million).

Cornell disclosed two investments in 2019, including its acquisition of Spectrum, a Fairfield, New Jersey, agent, marketer and administrator of finance and insurance products for the automotive market. The other was Lorom, a Taiwanese maker of cable and cable assembly products. Lorom’s minority recapitalization marked Cornell’s debut investment in Asia.

Henry Cornell leads a partnership team of seven. Its members are Ann Berry, Justine Cheng, Richard Drucker, Joyce I-Yin Hsu, Joanna Reiss and Stephen Trevor. Hsu, head of Asia, was last year featured in Buyouts’ Women in Private Equity, while Reiss was featured in Private Equity International’s Future 40.

Cornell declined a request for comment on this story.

Action item: Reach Cornell Capital at its New York headquarters: 212-818-8980.