Firms & Funds

Argus Capital Partners has secured €213 million in capital commitments for its second fund, which is expected to hold a final close later this year. The London-based private equity firm focuses on deals in Central and Eastern Europe. Argus originally was formed as a subsidiary of The Prudential Insurance Co., but completed a management buyout in June 2002.

Berkshire Partners of Boston has received over $2 billion in capital commitments for its seventh fund, with a final close on nearly $3 billion expected to occur next week.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) approved five private equity fund commitments: $150 million for Carlyle Asia Partners II; $50 million for New Enterprise Associates 12; €100 million for Rhone Capital III; $300 million for Thomas H. Lee Partners Fund VI; and $750 million for TPG Partners V.

Climate Change Capital, a UK-based I-banking group focused on clean energy and a low-carbon economy, has held an $830 million first close on a private equity fund focused on projects in developing countries that will help reduce the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. Limited partners include ABP and PGGM. The final fund target is $1 billion.

Credit Suisse announced several new initiatives to expand its alternative investment activities. They include: A partnership with the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. to support projects and funds focused on alternative energy investments; a partnership with China Renaissance Capital to form a China-focused venture capital effort; and a new private equity program focused on Latin America.

Cross Creek Capital, a late-stage VC fund affiliated with Wasatch Advisors, has closed its inaugural fund with $111 million in capital commitments.

Doughty Hanson & Co. has opened an office in Madrid, Spain. It will be staffed by new principals Francisco Gutierrez Churtichaga (formerly with JPMorgan Partners in Spain) as head of Spanish private equity, and Juan Barba Silvela (Aareal Bank) as head of Spanish real estate.

Doughty Hanson & Co. plans to publicly float a new buyout fund in London. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are co-leading the IPO, which is designed to raise at least €1 billion.

Hamilton Lane has opened a San Francisco office. Managing director Paul Yett has transferred from Philadelphia to run the office, and is joined by senior associate Jeff Lumbard. Hamilton Lane also expects to hire additional San Francisco staffers. The firm used to have a one-man shop in San Francisco, but it hasn’t been active in more than a year.

Hammond Kennedy Whitney & Co. is raising up to $185 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. The Indianapolis-based firm sponsors management buyouts of private companies.

Henderson Private Equity has held an €830 million first close for its second secondary fund.

H.I.G. Capital has closed its fourth buyout fund with $750 million in capital commitments

KSL Capital Partners has closed its second fund with over $1 billion in capital commitments. It will focus on five sectors of the travel and leisure market: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. Probitas Partners served as placement agent.

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (AMEX: LTS) has agreed to acquire Capitalink, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based middle-market I-banking firm.

Lehman Brothers and Hua An Fund Management Co. have teamed up to forma foreign currency-denominated fund that will allow domestic Chinese investors to access offshore investments.

Lincoln International, a Chicago-based mid-market I-banking firm, has opened an office in Los Angeles. It will be led by new senior vice president Steve Wiesner, who previously was with Zuma Capital Partners

Nautic Partners of Providence, R.I. is targeting $1.2 billion for its second private equity fund since becoming the independent successor to Fleet Equity Partners. The fund’s official name is Nautic Partners VI. Credit Suisse is serving as placement agent.

NGP Energy Capital Management has formed NGP Energy Infrastructure and Resources Partners, which will make direct equity commitments to infrastructure ventures in the midstream energy industry and the mining and minerals sector. The fund size is targeted at $1.5 billion, of which $75 million will be committed by fund management. John Raymond (formerly of Vulcan Energy Corp.) will serve as CEO and co-managing partner, while John Calvert (formerly with Deutsche Bank) will serve as co-managing partner.

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System yesterday authorized three private equity fund commitments: $50 million for Thomas H. Lee Partners Fund VI; $25 million to Artiman Ventures II; and $20 million for Devon Park Bioventures.

Platte River Ventures is raising up to $60 million for its inaugural fund, according to a regulatory filing. So far it has over $48 million in capital commitments. The Denver-based firm will focus on private equity opportunities in the small and middle-markets.

Pomona Capital has closed a $150 million co-investment fund for the ING US Insurance Companies. The vehicle will commit to LBO transactions alongside buyout firms, and already participated in the Hertz carve-out from Ford.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has launched a corporate advisory and restructuring group, which will provide financial, transactional and operational services to underperforming and distressed companies. The group’s senior management will include Tom Sperry, previously head of UIBS Warburg’s restructuring group, and existing PwC pro Peter Spratt.

The Silverfern Group

has formed Silverfern Co-Investment Partners, which will commit between $50 million and $150 million alongside private equity firms in large and middle-market buyouts, acquisitions and recaps.

Tricor Pacific Capital has closed its fourth fund with Cnd$555 million in capital commitments. The Vancouver-based firm will focus on private equity opportunities in Western and Midwestern Canada and the United States. Lazard served as fund placement agent.

Transforma Acquisition Corp., a New York-based blank check acquisition company focused on the tech, media and telecom market, has filed to raise $150 million via an IPO. It plans to trade on the AMEX under ticker symbol TAQ-U, with Banc of America Securities and CRT Capital Group serving as co-lead underwriters. Transforma management includes president and CEO Larry Lenhart, an executive-in-residence with Mohr, Davidow Ventures who previously served as president and CEO of Requisite Technology, Contivo and CAT Technology. Directors include: Daniel Burstein and Samuel Schwerin, co-founders of Millennium Technology Value Partners; former Apple Computer chief John Sculley and Dale Kutnick, senior VP and director of research at Gartner.

Saints Capital has bought 10 mid-market buyout investments from 3i Group. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, except that Saints received backing from Lexington Partners and Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund.