Fresh Profile: Hicks family office’s PE arm raises funds for food and beverage investments

Hicks Equity Partners, the private equity arm of Thomas Hicks’s holding company Hicks Holdings, raised more than $24 million for two specialty funds, a Form D said.

Hicks became famous for the Dr Pepper deal his PE firm, Hicks & Haas, executed in the 1980s. And he faced intense media scrutiny later for his sports investments in the Texas RangersDallas StarsLiverpool soccer team and Texas Stars.

Hicks & Haas evolved into Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, once one of the more high-profile private equity firms in the market. The firm wound down after some bad technology investments. Hicks left the firm in 2004. 

Hicks set up Hicks Holding in 2005. The Dallas family office invests in the middle market, preferring companies with enterprise values of $25 million and $200 million, in opportunistic control, co-control or growth-equity investments.

The FO focuses on opportunities with lower purchase-price multiples and low financial leverage.

Focus industries include specialty manufacturing, food and beverages, pay TV and broadcasting, oilfield services, and oil-and-gas exploration and production.

Hicks Equity’s HHEP-Daily Greens LP fund raised $10.4 million from 10 investors and HHEP-Live Soda LP fund raised $14.4 million from 11 investors.

Hicks Holdings’s first acquisition was Ocular LCD, followed by Greatwide Logistics ServicesLatrobe Specialty SteelGammaloy HoldingsBerkshire ResourcesDirecPath and Anvita Health.

The family sold Latrobe to Carpenter Technology Corp in 2011. The deal increased the value of his firm’s investment in Latrobe by a factor of 10, Hicks said, according to Dallas News.

Hicks’s sons Mack and Thomas co-manage Hick Holdings with him. They acquired Just Brakes in 2013 and sold it to Pep Boys in 2017.

The Hickses quadrupled their investment in Carol’s Daughter, which they sold to L’Oreal USA within six months of acquiring itThey helped the company with capital, retailing, overseas product sourcing and public relations, according to Dallas News.

Other companies include Grupo Pilar, an animal and pet food company based in Argentina, and a medical-devices company for glaucoma.

Hicks Equity had 10 employees engaged in an investment advisory capacity and about $170 million of discretionary capital under management as of Dec. 31, 2017. It charged a percentage on the AUM and performance-based fees, a Form ADV said.

Other funds included Animal Nutrition Equity Partners, which raised $1.6 million, HH Sight Partners, which raised $6.45 million, HH Halo Fund, which raised $5 million, HH Cuvee Coffee, which raised $4 million, and HH Utility LP, which raised $6.11 million, the Form ADV said.

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