Fulham & Co., a 20-year old buyout firm with 20 deals under its belt, closed its first fund on Dec. 18. With a target of $100 million, Fulham Investors LP exceeded that total by $15 million, raising the entire amount in 2003. Previously, the firm tapped into a bevy of insurance companies on a deal-by-deal basis, and this is the firm’s first stab at raising the money beforehand.
“The insurance companies that had funded Fulham for so long decided they wanted to get more into the debt side of the transaction,” said Russell Pennoyer, a partner with Benedetto, Gartland & Co., a New York-based placement agent. “Also, a lot of institutions began to see Fulham as an opportunity at the lower end of the small market, as some of the other $100 million and $200 million funds began to raise more in subsequent rounds and move upstream.”
Fulham will continue to focus on the niche it’s had its eye on for nearly two decades-companies that manufacture branded, highly engineered products, such as voltage regulators for small internal combustion engines. “They typically sell to commercial and industrial customers,” said Pennoyer. “It’s usually the type of product you wouldn’t even recognize if you saw it. According to Pennoyer, a typical deal for Fulham falls within the $10 million to $40 million range.