Fund briefs, April 23, 2007

VMG nears close on $300M consumer fund

VMG Equity Partners

, a consumer products-focused buyout firm, is expected to hold a final close on its inaugural fund this month, according to Buyouts, a sister publication to PE Week.

The fund has a $300 million target, according to the pension fund New Mexico State Investment Council, whcih approved a $30 million commitment to the fund in April 2006. As of March 2007, VMG had raised about $180 million in commitments and was nearing a final close, a source told Buyouts. New York-based placement agency Park Hill Group is working with VMG to raise the fund.

The San Francisco-based firm buys branded consumer products companies in the lifestyle, wellness, food and beverage, personal care, pet and leisure sectors. Ideal targets generate sales of between $10 million and $100 million. Buyout activity has been rampant in the market. In the first three months of 2007, consumer products deals made up about 8% of all buyout transactions sponsored by U.S. firms, according to Buyouts.

VMG’s penchant for consumer products stems from its co-founders—Scott Elaine Case, Michael Mauzé and Robert Schult. In 2005, they co-founded the company after leaving the The Shansby Group, which, in 2005 changed its name to TSG Consumer Partners.

VMG already boasts one portfolio company—bicycle messenger bag and computer carrying case manufacturer Timbuk2 Designs Inc. The firm acquired the company in partnership with Capital Logic Partners.

Richard Ellman, a partner with Aldus Equity Partners, had advised the New Mexico State Investment Council to invest in VMG’s inaugural fund. He said that the co-founders have invested $250 million in consumer products deals, generating a 32.9% IRR and a 2.7x ROI, alluding to deals the team did with TSG Consumer Partners.

Coller Capital closes record secondary fund

Coller Capital

has closed its fifth secondaries fund with $4.5 billion in capital commitments. It is considered the largest secondaries fund ever raised.

London-based Coller said its initial goal was to raise $3.75 billion, but that investors wanted to put up to $5.6 billion in the fund, so Coller raised the cap to $4.5 billion.

Among Coller’s investors is the California Public Employee Retirement System. “This is the fourth Coller fund in which CalPERS has invested and they have proved a consistently strong partner for us,” Leon Shahinian, head of CalPERS private equity, said in a statement.

Among its past investment, Coller, in January 2004, acquired a $900 million portfolio from Abbey National. It remains the largest secondaries investment by a single firm.

Coller, founded in 1990, now has $8 billion under management and has interests in 240 private equity funds, which have invested in 3,600 underlying companies worldwide.

Quaker Bio on pace to raise up to $400M

Philadelphia-based Quaker BioVentures has raised $175 million for its second venture fund, which the firm expects to close at between $350 million and $400 million later this year, Partner P. Sherrill Neff told VentureWire.

The firm, which manages a number of smaller state funds for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, raised $215 million for its previous venture fund in 2003. Return backers Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System has committed up to $100 million and the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System has committed $25 million. The firm invests nearly three-quarters of its funds in early stage drug developers, with the balance going to med tech, molecular diagnostics and health care services.

Brenda D. Gavin, one of the firm’s founding partners will participate in fund II, but she expects to retire sometime in 2010. The rest ofthe Quaker BioVentures team includes Partners Matthew Rieke, Richard S. Kollender, Vice President Geeta Vemuri and Analysts Patrick Lee and Jamil M. Beg.

Quaker has funded 24 companies, including Amicus Therapeutics Inc., a Cranbury, N.J., developer of drugs for genetic diseases that filed to go public earlier this month; BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corp., a King of Prussia, Pa.-based diabetes-drug maker that agreed to merge with Pfizer Inc. for an undisclosed amount in February; and Pittsburgh-based health care services company Medmark Holdings Inc., which was acquired by Walgreen Co. in August, also for an undisclosed amount.

H&F raises $8.4B

Hellman & Friedman

has closed its sixth buyout fund with $8.4 billion in capital commitments. Limited partners include California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which was an investor in the firm’s previous funds.

The firm raised $3.5 billion for fund V in 2004.

The announcement of the close of Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VI comes less than a week after the San Francisco-based firm agreed to sell DoubleClick to Google for $3.1 billion. H&F, along with JMI Equity, bought DoubleClick for $1.1 billion in 2005.

Qatar Capital launches

Qatar Capital Partners

has launched as a venture capital firm focused on opportunities in Qatar. It currently manages two funds: Technology Venture Fund, a $100 million early stage vehicle; and New Enterprise Fund, a $30 million seed-stage vehicle.

The firm was formed via a partnership between Qatar National Bank, Oxford Capital Partners and Ansbacher.

Darwin seeks to grow with second fund

Darwin Ventures

is looking to raise $60 million for its second venture capital fund-of-funds. The San Francisco-based firm closed its initial VC fund-of-funds in 2004 with $42 million, and committed to funds from such firms as Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Sierra Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

The firm’s management team includes Frank Caufield Jr., son of Frank Caufield Sr., co-founder of Kleiner Perkinds Caufield & Byers, who also serves as an advisor to Darwin Ventures. —PE Week staff