Mesirow preps new funds

Chicago funds of funds manager Mesirow Financial plans to hit the market in the coming weeks to raise a fifth vehicle and is at work assembling a new direct investment pool, a source familiar with the efforts told Buyouts, a PE Week-affiliated publication.

The firm intends to seek $1 billion for Mesirow Financial Private Equity V, building on a $900 million fund closed last year.

At the same time, Mesirow Financial is already in the market to raise as much as $250 million for Mesirow Financial Capital Partners Fund X LP, upping the ante from a $150 million, 2005-vintage fund that is almost completely spent.

Mesirow Financial tends to weight its commitment toward mid-market North American buyout firms, allocating roughly 35% of its funds of funds capital to those managers. Roughly 25% to 30% of the firm’s equity goes to venture capital firms. Another 20% is tagged for what the firm designates as “special situations,” a category that includes mezzanine funds and distressed-asset fund managers.

The firm uses the remainder of its funds of funds capital to back firms based outside of the United States, almost entirely in Europe. The firm’s exposure to emerging markets comes through its commitments to U.S.-based firms that do some deals overseas, according to our source.

The firm has previously committed to such buyout funds as Advent International, Berkshire Partners, Brockway Moran & Partners, Leonard Green & Partners and TSG Consumer Partners and mezzanine firm TCW/Crescent. Previous venture commitments include slugs to Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Menlo Ventures. —Jeremy Harrell