Firms & Funds

Abraaj Capital is raising $50 million for a private equity fund that would invest in small and mid-sized businesses in Palestine. It already has held a $15 million first close from Abraaj and publicly-owned investment fund The Palestine Investment Fund.

Ambrian Capital (LSE: AMBN) has formed a private equity group focused on the mining sector. It will be based in Switzerland, and staffed by former Glencore executives.

American Capital has amended an agreement with lenders to extend the deadline for restructuring its credit facility and other debt arrangements. The new deadline is March 15, but it can be extended by March 31.

Apollo Management has held a €1.4 billion final close on its European Principal Finance Fund, according to LBO Wire. The fund invests primarily in European non-performing loans.

Ascent Capital, an Indian growth equity firm, has closed its third fund with $350 million in capital commitments.

Axiom Asia has closed its second Asia-focused fund-of-funds with $950 million in capital commitments. The firm originally targeted $750 million, with Probitas Partners serving as placement agent.

China Investment Corp. has received U.K. regulatory approval to acquire a 2.3 percent stake in the management company of Apax Partners. CIC also has committed around $950 million to the Apax Europe VII fund.

CIT Group Inc. has hired former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain as its new chief executive. Thain, 54, immediately replaces interim CEO Peter Tobin, who will remain a director. Former CIT chief Jeff Peek, another past Merrill executive, retired on January 15.

CITIC Capital has closed its second China buyout fund with $925 million in capital commitments.

CITIC Securities has raised around $1.32 billion for its first institutional private equity fund, called the CITIC Mianyang Private Equity Fund. It is the largest yuan-denominated PE fund ever raised in China.

Citigroup plans to spin off its $10 billion Citi Private Equity unit, according to Bloomberg. The move was prompted by a need to cut debt, and was conceived prior to President Obama‘s proposal to limit financial risk-taking by banks.

The State of Connecticut could raise $1.3 billion for its new budget by securitizing various assets, including state charges on utility bills and lottery revenues, the treasurer said in a report.

CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) and Northleaf Capital Partners committed an additional $400 million to the Canadian private equity and venture capital markets. The funds will be committed to a Canadian fund-of-funds program that will be managed by CPPIB’s longstanding investment partner Northleaf Capital Partners.

International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector lending arm is investing more than $2 billion in sub-Saharan Africa in the 2009/10 fiscal year as investment opportunities improve.

KKR has formed a partnership to invest in consumer services, education and media businesses, alongside former Kaplan CEO Jonathan Grayer.

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) last year invested about $750 million in BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), as disclosed by KIA managing director Bader al-Saad during a television interview.

Lovell Minnick Partners, a mid-market private equity firm focused on the financial services sector, has closed its third fund with $455 million in capital commitments. It had been targeting $350 million. Limited partners include PPM America Capital Partners, HighVista Strategies, INVESCO Private Equity, WP Global Partners, Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group, Kemnay Private Equity, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Private Advisors, RCP Advisors, Twin Bridge Capital Partners and Washington University of St. Louis.

MicroVest Capital Management LLC closed MicroVest II LP, a private equity fund targeting microfinance institutions worldwide. The fund, which closed with $60 million in commitments, will serve as a capital intermediary between investors and financial institutions that serve the working poor. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as a placement agent, and one of its affiliates was a lead investor. In addition to J.P. Morgan, lead investors include the International Finance Corporation, CARE USA, Kinnevick New Ventures AB, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Christian Super Pyt Ltd, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

Oaktree Capital Management is raising its third a new energy fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm is targeting $800 million with a hard cap of $1 billion. It’s the firm’s first energy-focused effort without its former partner, GFI Energy Ventures, which sold its franchise to Oaktree, according to LBO Wire.

PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC) has agreed to sell its global investment servicing unit to BNY Mellon (NYSE: BK) for $2.3 billion in cash.

Southern Cross Group is raising its fourth Latin American private equity fund with a $1.25 billion target, according to LBO Wire. The firm raised around $750 million for its third fund in 2006.

Thailand’s $10 billion government pension fund said that it will increase its overseas investments, including PE fund investments and direct infrastructure and real estate investments. It did not give specific numbers.

Triton Partners, a Germany-based buyout firm focused on the European middle markets, reportedly has closed its third fund with €2.25 billion in capital commitments. It had been targeting €2 billion.

Versa Capital Management, a Philadelphia-based turnaround firm, has opened offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. The Chicago office will be led by Suzanne Yoon, a former senior vice president of CIT’s national restructuring group. The LA office will be led by David McReynolds, a former principal with American Capital.