Firms & Funds

Avista Capital Partners has closed its second fund with $1.8 billion in capital commitments, according to

Battery Ventures has closed its ninth fund with $750 million in capital commitments.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has named Margot Wirth as its new head of alternative investments, according to The position had been empty since early last year, when longtime alternatives chief Réal Desrochers resigned. Wirth and Seth Hall—both private equity portfolio managers—had been serving as interim co-heads.

Compass Advisers has launched a new principal investment unit, to be run by former DLJ Merchant Banking pro Scott Marden. It will focus on mid-market business and information services investments, and plans to target $600 million for its debut fund.

Elevar has raised $70 million for a “poverty-focused” growth equity fund focused on underserved markets like India, Mexico, the Philippines and Peru. It will back microfinance institutions and other providers of essential services.

Florida Mezzanine Fund has been launched by former partners of Gator Mezzanine Fund with backing from CapitalSouth Partners of up to $450 million. The fund will make debt and equity investments of $500,000 to $30 million in small and mid-sized Florida companies. The firm made two investments in tandem with its official launch, one in Great HealthWorks, Inc., a Fort Lauderdale-based marketing and distribution company, and the other in Association Financial Services, a Miami-based financial services company for condo and homeowner associations.

J.H. Whitney & Co. is targeting $750 million for its seventh private equity fund, with an $800 million hard cap, according to LBO Wire.

KKR has officially filed for an NYSE listing with the SEC. The firm intends to register $2.2 billion worth of shares, representing a 30 percent stake in the entire company, leaving 70 percent still held by the firm’s principals.

Mubadala Development Company has agreed to acquire a 9 percent equity stake in The Raine Group LLC, a firm which they seeks to capitalize on emerging investment opportunities in the media, entertainment and sports sectors around the world. Mubadala Development Company and William Morris Agency will be investors in Raine alongside private equity pioneer Ted Forstmann. Raine, a boutique merchant bank, was founded by Joe Ravitch, former senior partner and global head of media at Goldman Sachs, and Jeff Sine, former Vice-Chairman and global head of technology, media and telecom at UBS.

Neuberger Berman reportedly is planning a London listing for its first dedicated distressed debt fund, which would be targeting a raise of more than $150 million.

PSource Capital plans to launch a private equity fund focused on the Chinese infrastructure market.

The Sterling Group has closed its third fund with $820 million in capital commitments. The Houston-based firm focuses on mid-market private equity opportunities, and had closed its prior fund with $470 million in 2005.

Yale University has increased its targeted private equity allocation from 21 percent to 26 percent. The school also reported that its private equity portfolio value fell 24 percent for the year ending on June 30, 2009.