Firms & Funds

Actis has raised $70 million in new LP commitments for a mid-market private equity fund focused on opportunities in Southeast Asia. This capital is being added to an initial $60 million that was committed when the fund was slated to focus exclusively on Malaysia, for a fund total of $130 million.

Apollo Management is planning to raise a European mezzanine fund.

Baker Brothers Investments

of New York has raised $251 million for a life sciences and biotech fund, according to a regulatory filing. Limited partners include the University of Chicago and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Berkshire Partners of Boston has closed its seventh private equity fund with $3.1 billion in capital commitments.

The Carlyle Group has closed its ninth high-yield fund with $500 million in capital commitments. Approximately 90% of the fund will be used for first-lien bank loans, a maximum of 10% in high-yield bonds and second-lien loans. It utilizes a traditional CDO structure.

Centerbridge Partners has closed its inaugural fund with $3 billion in capital commitments. The New York-based firm was launched by Mark Gallogly and Jeffrey Aronson—formerly of Blackstone Group and Angelo Gordon, respectively—and will focus on private equity and distressed securities opportunities.

China Opportunity Acquisition Corp., a New York-based blank check acquisition company focused on businesses with principal operations in China, has filed to raise $36 million via an IPO. It plans to trade on the OTC Bulletin Board, with EarlyBird Capital serving as underwriter. The management team includes: Chairman and CEO Harry Edelson, managing partner of Edelson Technology Partners, and director Rose-Marie Fox, founder of Cornerstone Financial LLC.

Cooley Godward LLP and Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP today begin operating as one firm under the name Cooley Godward Kronish LLP.

CVC Capital Partners is planning to raise €4 billion for its fifth fund, according to Bloomberg. The news comes just one year after CVC closed its fourth fund with €6 billion, and is being done to help CVC better avoid club deals.

ECM Equity Capital Management of Germany reportedly has closed its second mid-market private equity fund with €250 million in capital commitments.

JPMorgan Chase has completed its acquisition of The Bank of New York’s consumer, small-business and middle-market banking businesses.

Morgan Stanley is reentering the private equity business; with a new group headed by former Goldman Sachs pro Stephen Trevor and current Morgan Stanley corporate finance chief Alan Jones. Morgan Stanley spun off its private equity business in 2004, with the resulting independent firm being called Metalmark Capital.

Newstone Capital Partners is seeking up to $500 million for its inaugural mezzanine fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm was launched by former KZC Catalyst Partners principal Robert Brougham and former TCW/Crescent Mezzanine pros Timothy Costello and John Rocchio. It already has secured $374 million in commitments from limited partners like The Prudential Life Insurance Co. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

Partners Group of Switzerland has closed its latest direct European buyout fund with €368 million in capital commitments. Earlier this year, Partners closed its European buyout fund-of-funds with €279 million.

Preston Gates & Ellis of Seattle reportedly is in talks to merge with fellow corporate law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham of Pittsburgh.

Reliance Capital, a unit of the Indian financial services company Reliance ADA Group, is planning to raise a $500 million private equity fund.

Scottish Equity Partners, a Glasgow-based technology VC firm, has closed its third fund with £160 million in capital commitments. Limited partners include Swiss Re, Skandia, Gartmore and Scottish Widows.

Westshore Capital Partners has launched to focus on small-market buyouts and recapitalizations in the U.S. and Canada. The firm’s three principals are: David Malizia, (formerly with Florida Capital Partners), Earl Powell (Trivest Partners) and Andy Krusen (Dominion Financial Group).

Winona Capital Management has launched as the successor firm to Kipp, Reese, Koldyke and Co., and will make minority and controlling investments in consumer-driven businesses. It has $110 million in committed capital, from founding limited partner Laird Norton Co. and others.

Zenshin Capital Partners of Palo Alto, Calif. is raising up to $100 million for a private equity fund to focus on both Japan and Silicon Valley, according to a regulatory filing.