Investors Form Korean-U.S. Fund –

Chicago-based Cambridge Capital Partners (CCP) has announced a first close of $50 million for its Hana Cambridge IMM Fund, a mid-market buyout fund that will invest in the United States and Korea. CCP raised the fund in a joint venture with Hana Bank and IMM Investment Corp. (IMM) of Korea.

The fund is one of the first formed since Korea changed its laws regulating private equity in December. The new regulations were designed to promote the formation of domestic private equity funds by South Korean firms. Since the new laws went into effect, Korea Development Bank, Woori Bank and Mirae Asset, among others, have all launched new funds.

David Posner, managing partner and founder of CCP in Chicago, said that he expects a second close of another $50 million in the near future and a final close by the end of 2005 of about $150 million. Investors in the fund include the founding partners, who have committed $20 million, the Korean Small and Medium Business Administration and the Korea Military Mutual Aid Association.

Posner said the fund will invest in Korea and the United States with no fixed allocation by geography. The joint venture will build on the experience of CCP’s first $100 million fund, which has made nine investments in U.S. buyouts and recapitalizations.

Similarly, the new fund, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, will avoid high-tech, R&D based firms, preferring to invest in ongoing concerns in manufacturing and services. Posner expects the fund to make from eight to 10 transactions, ranging in size from $8 million to $10 million.

Posner, who spent five years in Korea working for Citibank and as a student, says that the participation of domestic partners insures that the new fund will not resemble efforts by The Carlyle Group and Newbridge, which have made recent and highly profitable exits from the Korean market.