Frontenac’s Latest Buyout Fund Closes Below Target

Firm: Frontenac Co.

Fund: Frontenac IX Private Capital LP

Amount Raised: $315 million

Original Target: $450 million

Frontenac Co. quietly held a final close on its ninth buyout fund in December, wrapping up a fundraising effort that spanned two years, stalling in mid-2008 when the credit crunch deepened.

As first reported in peHUB, the sister Web site of Buyouts, the Chicago-based lower middle market firm secured $315 million in pledges for Frontenac IX Private Capital LP, below a $450 million target disclosed in the original regulatory filing for the pool in October 2006. More than half of the funds, about $170 million, were raised in 2006, according to data from Thomson Reuters, the publisher of Buyouts. After a quiet 2007 that yielded two closes totaling more than $40 million, the firm closed on an additional $86 million in June 2008 before securing the final $15 million pledge as 2008 drew to a close. Frontenac Co. didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The shop, whose investment approach places a heavy emphasis on partnering with the executives of its targets, raised $560 million for Frontenac VIII LP, its previous fund, finishing the effort in roughly six months in the second half of 2000.

The most recent transaction for Frontenac is the acquisition of CrochetMe.com, a Web site for crochet enthusiasts, from Kim Werker, its developer. That deal was completed on Dec. 2 by Interweave, a unit of Aspire Media, a publishing platform backed by Frontenac and Catalyst Investors, a New York-based middle market firm that targets media, communications and related Internet services industries. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Frontenac was founded in 1971 with the backing of the Laird Norton Company, a family office with its origins in the lumber business. The firm’s targets are typically owner-operators. Sectors of interest include financial services, health care, human resources and education, manufacturing, marketing services, technology services and publishing and media.

Portfolio companies include 3E Co., a Carlsbad, Calif., provider of information and compliance services related to environmental health and safety standards; Anaheim, Calif.-based Crescent Healthcare, which offers specialty infusion and pharmacy services; Encore Discovery Solutions, a Phoenix-based provider of legal information management services; H-E Parts, an Atlanta-based distributor of mining and construction parts and equipment; and Systems Maintenance Services Inc., a Hudson, Mass., provider of information technology systems and support services.