Firms & Funds

Accent Equity Partners has closed a new fund with €380 million in capital commitments, according to LBO Wire. The Sweden-based firm focuses on lower-middle-market deals in the Nordic region.

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, fotmer head of European project finance at Citigroup.

Alinda Capital Partners and The Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SGR) have formed Shaw Infrastructure Investments, via which they will “jointly pursue development of certain yet to be identified energy, transportation, infrastructure, water, wastewater, and related projects.” No financial terms were disclosed. Alinda is an infrastructure-focused private equity firm, while Shaw provides engineering services.

Apollo Management has formed a $400 million special account to invest in North American and European distressed debt investments, value-driven investments and other special opportunities. It is solely funded by CalPERS.

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, healthcare 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.

BlackRock Inc. has agreed to buy the fund-of-funds division of Quellos Group for up to $1.7 billion. The deal, set to close around Oct. 1, will create a fund-of-funds operation with more than $25.4 billion in managed assets.

The Blackstone Group priced its landmark IPO at the high end of its range. It sold 133.3 million units at $31 per share, for a $4.13 billion IPO take that values Blackstone at nearly $33.5 billion. It represents the largest U.S. IPO since CIT Group went public in July 2002, although is less than the $5 billion KKR raised for a co-investment fund last year on the Euronext.

CalPERS has committed $400 million to Silver Lake Partners III, $150 million to W Capital Partners II and $40 million to Craton Equity Partners.

The Carlyle Group plans to raise $400 million by listing a publicly-traded vehicle on the Euronext Amsterdam, according to an advertisement Carlyle took out in financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad. Carlyle said it would issue 18.9 million shares at between $20 and $22 per share, with a 2.9 million share over-allotment available to the underwriters.

CDC, a fund-of-funds owned by the U.K. government, has retained Morgan Stanley to advise it on a possible sale or IPO, according to The Times of London. The report says that an IPO could value CDC as high as £2 billion.

The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association has committed $200 million to Warburg Pincus’ tenth fund, which is targeting $12 billion.

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.

DLJ Investment Partners, an affiliate of Credit Suisse, is marketing both a mezzanine fund and a South American buyout/growth equity fund, according to LBO Wire. The mezz vehicle has secured at least $1.3 billion, although no target or cap was reported. The South American fund is targeting $200 million, and will focus on Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Falconhead Capital has closed its second fund with $290 million, including a discretionary co-investment fund with $35 million. The New York-based firm focuses on mid-market private equity opportunities in the consumer, leisure and lifestyle sectors.

GIMV and Dexia Bank Belgium have agreed to jointly launch a private equity fund focused on infrastructure and real estate construction projects, mainly in the Benelux. The fund’s target size is €100 million, with GIMV and Dexia each providing up to 20 percent.

Goldman Sachs yesterday 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.

GSC Group has closed its fifth collateralized debt obligation fund with €300 million in capital commitments. The fund has a target portfolio of 90 percent senior and 10 percent subordinated notes, and will invest primarily in private equity-backed transactions.

Harvest Partners of New York has closed its fourth 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.

Hotbed Group Limited, the U.K.’s largest syndicator of private investors, has reported an operating profit before goodwill of £609,000. Revenue increased by 112 percent to £3.6 million for the year ended March 31, 2007. This compares with an operating profit before goodwill in the previous year of £20,000 from revenues of £1.7m.In the five years since its launch, Hotbed, which is unlisted, has raised £110 million of equity from its members for investment in 50 transactions valued at approximately £500 million. Over 60 percent of this £110 million has been invested in private equity deals, with the balance going into commercial property. Of the 50 investments made so far, 38 have been private equity investments.

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.

Insight Venture Partners has closed its sixth fund with $1.25 billion in capital commitments. The New York-based firm focuses on both control and minority investments in the software and Internet services market, and closed its prior fund with $675 million in 2005. In related news, the firm has promoted five professionals to managing director. They are: Ben Levin and George McCulloch on the transaction team; Hilary Gosher and Nikitas Koutoupes on the “value-creation” team and Blair Flicker, the firm’s chief compliance officer.

Jefferies & Co. has acquired the Putnam Lovell investment banking business from National Bank Financial Group of Canada. No financial terms were disclosed.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. plans to obtain a securities broker-dealer license from the NASD, according to The Deal. The move is required for securities underwriting, although KKR is likely interested in forming an M&A advisory practice similar to that of Blackstone Group (which already has a broker-dealer license).

Madison Dearborn Partners of Chicago is planning to begin raising a $10 billion fund later this year, according to LBOWire. Its current fund closed on $6.5 billion just over a year ago.

The investment arm of the Greek bank Marfin Popular began book building to raise €5.19bn through a rights offering for investment in South East Europe making it the largest fund of its kind in the region. The Athens-listed private equity fund has already raised €2.5bn, according to sources close to the firm. Dubai Financial has agreed to invest €500m in aggregate. In addition, key members of the company’s management may make significant personal investments in MIG’s shares.

MatlinPatterson is raising up to $4.5 billion for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. It already had over $1.55 billion in commitments through June 8. The New York-based private equity firm focuses on distressed and special situation opportunities. Its second fund closed on $2 billion in 2003.

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.

The Texas-based buyout pro, Tom Hicks, has invested $400m in a listed SPV indicating that he will be inking a deal soon.

Vista Equity Partners of San Francisco is raising its third fund with a $1.1 billion hard cap, according to LBO Wire. Its previous fund closed on $1 billion in 2000.

The Washington State Investment Board agreed to commit up to $125 million to Asia Opportunity Fund III (managed by CCMP Capital Asia), and up to $100 million to Endeavour Capital Fund V. It also extended its VC advisory contracts for both Pathway Capital Management and Invesco Private Capital.

Yorkville Advisors has opened an Israel office in Tel Aviv. It will be staffed initially with a team of five executives under a joint venture with Israeli law firm Amos Bentzur and Company