Former Citi manager closes in on new fund

Cohesive Capital Partners, a new firm founded by John Barber, a former managing partner of Citigroup Private Equity, expects to hold a first close of $100 million on its debut fund in the second quarter, according to a source familiar with the fund-raising effort.

Barber declined to comment.

The firm is targeting $250 million for the fund, which, similar to Citi Private Equity, will specialize in co-investing in companies with other private equity firms. Citi Private Equity also made mezzanine investments and invested in buyout funds, but it’s unclear if Cohesive Capital will also pursue those strategies.

Barber left Citigroup in January 2009 after 14 years with the firm, including nine years in its private equity group, which he helped to develop. Under Barber, the firm raised a $400 million debut fund in 2000, followed by a $3.3 billion sophomore fund in January 2007.

At Citi’s PE group, Barber participated in the $6.3 billion buyout of investment manager Nuveen Investments Inc. with Madison Dearborn Partners, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity and other investors in November 2007. Another notable CITI deal with his stamp includes the $7.3 billion buyout of Dollar General Corp., alongside Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in March 2007.

Barber began raising Cohesive’s debut fund in September 2009. The limited partners are undisclosed.

Citigroup, meanwhile, is reportedly selling its $10 billion PE group, which oversees about $2 billion of the bank’s money, because it wants to shave off some debt. The group is headed by Managing Partners Todd Benson and Darren Friedman. Citigroup spokeswoman Shannon Bell declined to comment on the matter. —Bernard Vaughan