Friend Skoler Closes at $231M

Friend Skoler & Co. LLC has closed its first institutional fund over target with $231 million in commitments. The Saddle Brook, N.J.-based company had originally sought to raise $150 million for the fund.

The firm began marketing the fund in June 2003.

Friend Skoler’s previous effort was a pledge fund with all capital coming from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR). And while Friend Skoler would not say if KKR invested in this fund, a source acknowledged that KKR did come in again.

Steven Skoler, a managing director with the firm, said that LPs included universities, funds-of-funds and institutions.

Similar to its last fund, the new fund, Friend Skoler Equity Investors LP, will focus on acquiring and building companies in the middle market.

The fund will invest between $10 million and $30 million into each deal, which will ideally have transactional values of between $20 million and $200 million. Although the fund has not committed any capital yet, with eight investment professionals ready to get to work, the firm should be committing this fund soon.

“Our deal flow is abundant and there are numerous investment opportunities. We will be doing some deals soon,” Skoler said.

The fund has a six-year investment period.

While the firm is mainly focused on the size of the deal rather than the sector, Skoler did say that the firm is partial to consumer products, specialty retail and industrial deals. However, Skoler points out that the firm “casts a wide a net and looks at a broad range of opportunities.”

Alexander Friend, also a managing director with the firm, and Skoler, have sourced, invested in and operated businesses together since 1986. Between 1986 and 1997, Friend and Skoler acquired two businesses and served as the day-to-day senior operating executives of both companies.

In 1998, they formed Friend Skoler & Co., LLC and established its pledge fund relationship with the executives of KKR. Friend and Skoler have invested $60 million through 18 transactions, establishing six portfolio companies since 1986, according to the firm.

Friend Skoler still has four portfolio companies left. To date, the firm’s realized investments have generated $88.7 million of total value on a cost basis of $19.6 million.

This story originally appeared in Buyouts, an affiliated publication.