Firms & Funds

Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and Albert Frère reportedly have raised €1 billion for a Europe-focused buyout fund.

AtriA Capital Partenaires, a France-based middle-market buyout firm, has closed its third fund with €300 million in capital commitments. Limited partners include Altius Associates, CalSTRS, and Pantheon Ventures.

BA Capital Partners Europe has completed a spinout from Bank of America. The newly-independent firm is called Argan Capital, and features a 12-person team led by managing partners Wojciech Goc, Carlo Mammola and Lloyd Perry. Argan recently held a €425 million first close on its new fund, which will acquire mid-market European companies with enterprise values in excess of €100 million. Bank of America is a minority limited partner.

Barclays Capital has bought a 40% stake in NGP Energy Capital Management, an Irving, Texas-based private equity firm focused on the energy market. No financial terms were disclosed.

CalPERS has committed $400 million to Centinela Capital Partners, which will oversee a new private equity fund-of-funds for emerging managers. The managers will be from across the private equity spectrum, including venture capital, expansion capital and leveraged buyouts. Centinela was founded by Cesar Baez, previously with Deutsche Bank Asset Management and a former head of alternative investments for the State of New Jersey.

The Carlyle Group is planning to raise $15 billion for its next U.S. private equity fund, according to Bloomberg. It also reportedly is seeking €5 billion for its next European private equity fund. Finally, Carlyle has secured over $430 million for its $1 billion-targeted infrastructure fund, according to regulatory filings.

Ethos Private Equity of South Africa has closed its fifth fund with around $750 million in capital commitments.

HSBC reportedly is considering a re-launch of its direct private equity business, according to Private Equity Online. The bank spun out Montagu Private Equity three years ago.

Lehman Brothers is planning to raise around £4 billion for a new private equity real estate fund, according to The Telegraph. Up to half of the capital will be allocated to Asia. Crown Advisors International of New York is raising up to $200 million for its second Crown Growth Partners private equity fund.

Merrill Lynch & Co. has agreed to buy Denver investment bank Petrie Parkman & Co. Petrie Parkman serves as an advisor to the energy industry and had filed for an IPO last month. The deal is expected to close in Q4. Keefe Bruyette & Woods advised Petrie.

Morgan Keegan of Memphis, Tenn. is raising a $50 million private equity fund-of-fund, according to a regulatory filing.

Morgan Stanley has agreed to acquire a minority stake in hedge fund manager Avenue Capital Group. No financial terms were disclosed, but Bloomberg reports that Morgan Stanley paid around $280 million for just under 20% of Avenue, which has $12 billion in assets.

NewSmith Capital Partners, a UK-based asset management firm whose platform includes direct private equity plays, has received a $500 million funding commitment from the Wellcome Trust.

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System has approved the following private equity fund commitments: $15 million to InterMedia Partners VII; to $30 million to Sofinnova Venture Partners VII; $20 million to VIMAC Ventures IT III; $80 million to AXA Secondary Fund IV (follow-on); $125 million to Hellman & Friedman VI (follow-on); $50 million to Providence Equity Partners VI (follow-on).

Pala Investments of Switzerland has raised $900 million for a multi-strategy fund focused on the mining industry. It will use private equity, VC and hedge fund strategies, and is run by former executives of Goldman Sachs and Russia-based OAO Mechel.

Platte River Ventures, a Denver-based private equity firm focused on industrial SMEs, has closed on over $54 million for its $60 million-targeted inaugural fund. The firm was founded last year by Landis Martin, who most recently served as chairman and CEO of Titanium Metals Corp.

Quartillium, the fund-of-funds unit of France-based Finama, said that it is about to begin raising its third fund-of-funds. Its current vehicle has made recent commitments to: Dunedin Buyout Fund II, Cinven IV; Alpha V; Edgestone Equity Partners III, Mangrove II, Scottish Equity Partners III, Almack Mezzanine I, Granite Global Ventures III, ABRY Senior Equity II, Gleacher Mezzanine II, Prairie Capital IV and TA Subordinated Debt Fund II.

Thoma Cressey Partners reportedly is planning to close its Boston office. The firm will continue to maintain its Chicago and San Francisco offices, with East Coast interests to be run out of Chicago. David Mayer, a TCP partner who launched the Boston office two years ago, is expected to leave the firm.

Warburg Pincus has closed its first dedicated real estate fund with $1.2 billion in capital commitments.