Greenbriar Closes Fund With $700 M

Just one week after Berkshire Partners held an $870 million first close on its sixth private equity vehicle, the firm?s transportation investment partner, Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, wrapped up its own fund-raising activities with just under $700 million in committed capital. Boston-based Berkshire provided approximately one-third of that total via an agreement whereby it will put up $1 for every $2 invested by Rye, N.Y.-based Greenbriar.

“It?s a strategic joint venture,” said Joel Beckman, managing partner with Greenbriar and former head of the transportation business group at Goldman Sachs. “We will look at each deal together and form a single investment team.”

So far, that strategy has already landed the firms a controlling stake in Active Aero Group, a Detroit-based charter air transportation and logistics company.

Although that deal was structured as a leveraged buyout of an airline company, Greenbriar?s investment strategy is not tied to any particular transaction structure or niche sector within the transportation industry. Instead, the firm will be looking to make LBO, growth capital, recapitalization, privatization and corporate joint venture investments in companies that specialize in airlines, automobiles, air freight, rail, express delivery, shipping, logistics, ports, terminals and aerospace.

“The private equity market hasn?t really focused on these areas over the last couple of years, because everyone was so focused on technology or telecom,” Beckman said. “But globalization has brought about a high degree of change in the [transportation industry], and we feel that [limited partners] were excited by the opportunity to work with us because we really understand the business.”

Beckman?s partners at Greenbriar include fellow one-time Goldman, Sachs & Co. transportation chief Regg Jones and 30-year industry veteran Jerry Greenwald, who most recently served as chairman and chief executive of United Airlines parent company UAL Corp.

On the traditional limited partner side, Greenbriar?s inaugural effort is backed by a cadre of institutions including: Allianz, Citigroup, CMS Cos., Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Fleet, JP Morgan Chase, Ontario Retirement Board, Princeton University, Rowe Management, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of Chicago, Wellcome Trust and the corporate pensions funds of Delta Air Lines Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and The Boeing Co.

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