Firms & Funds

Alinda Capital Partners has closed its debut infrastructure fund with $3 billion in capital commitments. C.P. Eaton served as placement agent. Alinda was formed last year by a team led by Chris Beale, former global head of project finance at Citigroup. Other senior managers include: Phil Dyk, former president of Ahlstrom Capital; Sanjay Khettry, former head of US and LatAm project finance at Citigroup; John Laxmi, former head of project bond origination with Citigroup; and Simon Riggall, former head of European project finance at Citigroup.

Audax Group

has closed its third fund with $1 billion in capital commitments. The Boston-based firm was founded by a pair of former Bain Capital pros in 1999, and focuses on middle-market opportunities across a range of industry sectors. It also runs a mezzanine lending business out of its New York office.

Avista Capital Partners of New York has closed its debut fund with $2 billion in capital commitments. Merrill Lynch served as placement agent. Avista was formed in 2005 by seven former partners who worked together at DLJ Merchant Banking, and focuses on buyout opportunities in the energy, health care and media spaces. It has committed approximately $1.1 billion of the fund so far, in 14 companies. They include: BioReliance Corp., Geokinetics Inc., Laramie Energy II LLC, Nycomed AS, The Star Tribune Co. and WideOpenWest.

Bear Stearns Cos. reported that fiscal second-quarter profit sank as a downturn in the U.S. mortgage market slammed the company’s business of issuing and dealing bonds backed by pools of home loans. Its shares fell nearly 2 percent. The Wall Street brokerage said, for purposes of calculating diluted earnings per share, it reported a profit for the three months ended May 31 of $374.6 million, or $2.52 per share, down from $558.2 million, or $3.72 per share, a year ago.

CalPERS unveiled a $700 million investment program in the U.S. health care space. Some of this might go to biotech startups, but the real focus seems to be on improving the efficacy of the overall healthcare market, which CalPERS’ CIO Russell Read called “fragmented and inefficient.” Under terms of the deal, CalPERS will initially commit up to $500 million to a new initiative for direct investments and co-investments in health care companies. It also will earmark up to $200 million for health care-focused private equity funds and strategic joint ventures. The initiative will be advised exclusively by Health Evolution Partners, a new private equity firm formed by Dr. David Brailer, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The Carlyle Group has formed a Financial Institutions Group, which will invest in the global financial services sector, including banking and insurance. It will be co-led by Ned Kelly III, former chairman and CEO of Mercantile Bankshares Corp., and David Zwiener, former president and COO of The Hartford Financial Services Group’s property and casualty operations. A Carlyle spokeswoman declined to comment on whether or not the new group will raise a stand-alone fund, or invest out of existing Carlyle funds.

The City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions & Retirement has renewed its non-discretionary private equity consulting contract with Franklin Park Associates, which beat out rivals Alignment Capital and Aldus Equity Partners.

CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) has agreed to acquire Edgeview Partners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based M&A advisory focused on serving financial sponsors and middle-market companies. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close next quarter.

The Cypress Group has abandoned plans to raise a new fund, according to LBO Wire. The New York-based buyout firm raised $2.5 million for its second fund in 1999, but has since experienced significant personnel turnover. That fund is long out of dry powder, but Cypress has made new deals thanks to a partnership with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

Thomas DiNapoli, trustee of the $150 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, has proposed to use the state pension fund to increase pressure on the Sudanese government to end the genocide in Darfur. The first phase calls for research to determine which companies the fund may be investing in are using objectionable practices in Sudan. The second phase will be to work with those companies to get them to either withdraw from Sudan or begin taking action aimed at providing aid to the Sudanese people, said DiNapoli. After reviewing any changes the companies make, DiNapoli said he will consider divesting from companies that fail to take substantial action.

Duke Street Capital is nearing a final close on its sixth middle-market fund. The U.K.-based firm has been targeting €850 million, and also is in the process of hiring both a new investment director and investment manager. The fund will be the first since Duke Street founder Ed Truell left to set up Pension Insurance Corp., which buys pension fund assets. Truell sold the majority of his share in Duke Street earlier in the year.

EnerVest has closed its eleventh fund with $1.02 billion in capital commitments. The Houston, Texas-based firm acquires upstream oil and gas properties and companies in North America. It closed its previous fund at $550 million in early 2005.

Genstar Capital has closed its fifth fund with $1.55 billion in capital commitments. Park Hill served as placement agent. Genstar is a San Francisco–based private equity firm focused on middle-market opportunities in such sectors as life sciences, health care services, industrial technology, business services and software. It closed its fourth fund closed in the fall of 2004 with $475 million.

Goldman Sachs reported second-quarter results edged slightly higher, with profits squeezed by a slowdown in its mortgage business. Profit after paying preferred dividends rose to $2.29 billion, or $4.93 per share, from $2.29 billion, or $4.78 per share, a year earlier. Despite a strong performance in its investment banking and asset management businesses, revenue slipped to $10.18 billion from $10.24 billion a year earlier.

Greenpark Capital has closed its third secondaries fund with €730 million in capital commitments. The U.K.-based firm acquires both fund and direct investment interests in the U.S. and Europe.

Harvest Partners of New York has closed its fifth fund with $815 million in capital commitments. It will continue to focus on middle-market opportunities in the North American industrial, business services and consumer/retail spaces. In related Harvest news, the firm also has promoted Michael DeFlorio to senior managing director from managing director. He joined the firm in June 2003, and led the recent acquisition of Aquilex Corp.

Lehman Brothers has closed its fourth Merchant Banking Partners fund with $3.3 billion in capital commitments (including $500 million from Lehman). The fund seeks to acquire control and significant majority stakes in small-to-mid-cap companies. Approximately $1.2 billion of its capital is earmarked for Europe.

Industrial Opportunity Partners has closed its debut fund with $185 million in capital commitments. The Evanston, Ill.-based firm focuses on middle-market manufacturing and distribution businesses, typically with revenues between $30 million and $300 million. Park Hill Group served as fund placement agent.

Morgan Joseph & Co. announced the opening of a corporate finance office in Boston. It will be headed by Peter Olaynack, a managing director and co-head of the firm’s financial sponsors group.

Parthenon Capital of Boston has closed its third fund with approximately $700 million in capital commitments. MVision Private Equity Advisors served as placement agent. Parthenon had originally targeted around $1 billion.

Partners Group of Switzerland has closed its latest direct buyouts fund with €500 million in capital commitments. The fund is already 35 percent invested in 24 transactions, and has held a partial exit via the IPO of RSC Equipment Rental.

Societe Generale Asset Management Alternative Investments (SGAM AI), the private equity arm of the French financial services group, has held a final close of its Central and Eastern Europe-focused fund with €156 million ($210 million) of commitments, above its initial target of €150 million. The fund team has professions in Paris, Warsaw and Bucharest.

Standard Life Investments has closed its latest European private equity fund-of-funds with €900 million in capital commitments. It also has raised another $300 million for North American Strategic Partners, its first U.S. private equity fund-of-funds.

Sterling Partners, a Northbrook, Ill.-based mid-market private equity firm, has closed its third fund with $1 billion in capital commitments. Sterling seeks to acquire controlling interests in companies with enterprise values of between $20 million and $150 million.

W Capital Partners is raising up to $750 million for its second direct secondaries fund, according to a regulatory filing. LBO Wire reports a formal target of $500 million. Probitas Partners is serving as primary placement agent