Firms & Funds

Apax Partners has acquired Israeli investment firm Psagot, Reuters reported. New York-based Apax paid roughly 2.08 billion shekels ($572.5 million) for a 76.8 percent stake in Psagot. Though signed last December, the close of the acquisition was put on hold until now because Psagot was the subject of an Israeli securities fraud investigation. U.S.-Israeli investment fund Markstone Capital owns the remaining 23.2 percent of Psagot.

Publicly traded private equity firm Blackstone Group saw its profits rise to $339 million in the third quarter of 2010, a 23 percent jump from the same period last year. Blackstone’s investments include Hilton Hotels and casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment.

The Carlyle Group plans to pour $300 million into buyout deals in the Middle East and North Africa in the next two years, and is specifically eyeing investments in Egypt and Morocco, Reuters reported. The firm already has invested part of a $500 million regional fund and aims to commit the rest of the capital within 18 to 24 months.

Dubai Investments Co. plans to sell 30 percent of its Masharie private equity unit to investors via an initial public offering, Reuters reported. The IPO will launch during the first half of 2011.

London-based Impax Asset Management Group has added €118 million ($168 million) in committed capital for its second private equity fund, Impax New Energy Investors II LP, bringing the total raised to €259 million ($368 million). The fund will focus on renewable energy deals across the European Union.

Tel Aviv-based Infinity Group has raised $33 million for a China-focused life science fund. The firm launched its fund—Tianjin Israel Life Science Fund—with Chinese investors Tianjin Venture Capital, Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone, Tianjin Mingxuan Investment and Tianjin Tianying Venture Capital Management.

Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors has closed its latest fund, Kayne Anderson Mezzanine Partners, with $600 million in commitments. The New York City-based firm said it will focus the fund on middle market investments across a broad range of industries. Kayne Anderson has already made six investments through the fund, totaling $90 million.

Littlejohn & Co. has closed its fourth fund with $1.34 billion, exceeding the firm’s original target of $1.25 billion. Roughly 80 percent of the capital in Littlejohn Fund IV LP will go toward control investments, with the remainder invested in distressed opportunities, the firm said. Park Hill Group served as placement agent for Greenwich, Conn.-based Littlejohn.

Maria Boyazny, who has long managed Siguler Guff’s Distressed Opportunities Funds (I, II, III and IV) is launching MB Global Partners, a multiplatform asset management firm that will focus on credit and distressed securities and that will both make direct investments and allocate capital to outside managers.

Mid-market commercial finance company NXT Capital has added $50 million from private equity firm Stone Point Capital, and $25 million from an undisclosed U.S. corporate pension fund, bringing its total capitalization to roughly $530 million. Chicago-based NXT Capital was formed earlier this year by the Greenwich, Conn.-based Stone Point Capital, and by former principals of Merrill Lynch Capital.

Robeco aims to raise $500 million for investments in timber and forestry, Reuters reported. The Dutch asset manager will launch its new fund next year and will invest in timber-focused private equity funds and in companies in the forestry market.

StepStone Group announced that it has closed the transaction to take over management of various in-house private equity funds that had been run by Citigroup. The bank also sold a portion of its interest in those funds to private equity group Lexington Partners. The two deals, first announced in July, are part of Citi’s strategy to reduce assets within Citi Holdings, the company’s portfolio of non-core operating businesses. Financial terms were not released.

Wellspring Capital Management has raised $1.2 billion for its fifth fund, Wellspring Capital Partners V LP. The new fund, which is the firm’s largest to date, will focus on middle market investments and buyout deals ranging in size from $50 million to $2 billion. Wellspring Capital is based in New York and has more than $3 billion under management.