Huizenga Heirs Launch Fund

Peter Huizenga has launched a new private equity fund, Huizenga Opportunity Partners LP, which is seeking an estimated $300 million, according to SEC filings.

Perhaps the lesser-known mover in the Huizenga family, Peter is the cousin of Wayne Huizenga, and for the past 15-plus years has served as the head of Huizenga Capital Management—the family investment office for the heirs of Waste Management Inc. (WMI).

The family office was launched in 1990, and has made a number of investments stretching across a range of asset classes, including private equity, real estate and hedge funds. The group has also frequently invested as a limited partner in other GP vehicles, such as in funds from Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Co. and Northlight Capital, among others.

Peter Huizenga serves as the chairman of Huizenga Capital Management, while David Bradley sits as president. Peter Huizenga’s son, Peter Jr., is also actively involved in the office’s investments.

The new fund will be targeting opportunities in the private equity and private debt markets, according to a description on the Web site of Graue Mill Partners, a Chicago-based GP that is backing the vehicle. The fund is seeking around $300 million, although in the SEC filing the group specified that the number was not a ceiling.

The Huizenga family made its fortune in the garbage business. What began as Huizenga & Son Private Scavenger more than 110 years ago in Chicago is today the publicly held garbage giant Waste Management Inc. (WMI).

The public face of the Huizenga heirs has historically been Wayne Huizenga, who headed WMI for many years and then found additional success through an early investment in Blockbuster Video.

Wayne, with backing from the Huizenga clan, has also launched additional businesses such as car retailer AutoNation, motel operator Extended Stay America and Republic Services, a separate waste management business that was eventually sold to WMI. Wayne Huizenga is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.

While cousin Wayne is a backer of Huizenga Capital Management, an article in Crain’s Chicago Business described that the office is largely funded by Peter Huizenga’s side of the family.

And even as Wayne gets much of the accollades for building and profiting off of WMI and Blockbuster, Peter Huizenga appears very much content in his role as the man behind the curtain. In the same October, 2005 Crain’s article, Peter Huizenga was quoted as saying, “I’m the go-to guy. Wayne is Mr. Big.”

David Bradley, in a call to Buyouts, noted that while Huizenga Capital Management will occassionally reach out with investment opportunities to “friends” outside of the family, typically speaking the fund is closed to most investors. “We have a few funds that in addition to family capital, have included a few extended family members and friends, but this is not a fund that is available to the public or a broad base of individuals,” he said.

There have been a number of institutional groups in the past to spawn out of family offices, including Oak Hill Capital Partners (Robert M. Bass), American Securities Capital Partners (William Rosenwald), and Auda Group (The Quandt family), among many others.

However, when asked if Huizenga Capital might ever follow a similar path, Bradley would only say, “It would be unfair to say that there isn’t a small possibility that could happen, but it remains a very small possibility. We’re pleased with our current structure, and don’t find ourselves needing a significant amount of additional capital [to compete].” —K.M.