PE fund briefs, week of Dec. 10, 2007

TH Lee Partners closes sixth fund at $10B

Thomas H. Lee Partners has closed its sixth fund, the first without founder Thomas H. Lee at the helm, raising $10.1 billion from limited partners in a fund-raising that lasted more than two years.

The Boston-based buyout shop closed Thomas H. Lee Partners Fund VI late last month, with $8.1 billion committed to its core fund and an additional $2 billion in a co-investment vehicle. The prior fund, which closed in 2001, secured $6.1 billion in commitments.

The firm points to two main factors for why fund-raising stretched out more than two years. First, portfolio company Refco Inc., a futures trader, filed for Chapter 11 in 2005, which the firm says tainted returns and absorbed the attention of the LBO shop’s team. Second, though it had been years in the planning, founder Thomas H. Lee left the firm in March 2006, passing the reins to the trio of Scott Sperling, Scott Schoen and Anthony DiNovi. The three have been leading the firm’s investments for a decade. Lee is now raising a fund under a new shingle, Lee Equity Partners.

Despite not closing its sixth fund until last month, Thomas H. Lee Partners has been busy doing deals out of the fund for some time, including some blockbusters. Deals over the past year include the pending buyout of Clear Channel Communications and the purchase of Univision Inc.

Shareholders of radio giant Clear Channel have voted in favor of that $19.5 billion deal, done in conjunction with Bain Capital Partners. It still awaits regulatory approval. On Univision, Thomas H. Lee Partners teamed with Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Saban Capital Group and TPG. The firm’s most recent deal, the purchase of human resources services provider Ceridian Corp., was bought in conjunction with Fidelity National Financial for $5.3 billion.

This fall, Thomas H. Lee Partners announced the formation of a credit fund, THL Credit Group, earmarked for leveraged finance, structured credit and minority equity transactions. The fund has raised at least $500 million. The division is led by CEO James Hunt. —Mark Cecil

Pegasus raises $750M

Pegasus Capital Advisors has closed its fourth private equity fund with $750 million in capital commitments. Park Hill Group served as placement agent.

Pegasus is a middle-market private equity firm with offices in New York City and Cos Cob, Conn. The firm raised more than $300 million for its third fund, which closed in 2002. Unlike the first three funds, .which focused on turnaround companies, fund IV will invest in general private equity deals, and what the firm calls businesses with “positive attributes.”

Cartesian Group nets $1B for inaugural fund

The Cartesian Group has closed its debut fund with $1.05 billion in capital commitments. The New York-based firm focuses on opportunities in emerging markets, often buyouts of family-run businesses.

Cartesian was formed by former AIG Capital Partners pros Peter Yu and Bill Jarosz.

Chrysalix teams with Robeco

Canadian cleantech investor Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and European asset manager Robeco have formed a joint venture to invest in European companies focused on green energy and climate mitigation technologies.

The effort, called Sustainable Energy Technology Venture Partners, has an initial capitalization of about $75 million, and is expected to grow to nearly $150 million next year.

Limited partners include Delta NV and Essent NV. The fund’s independent management team is headed up by CEO Rene Savelsberg, who previously led the corporate venture arm of Philips.

Marlin Equity reels in $300M

Marlin Equity Partners, a Los Angeles-based special situations firm, has closed its second fund with $300 million in capital commitments.

Marlin targets a variety of industries, with a focus on technology, consumer and health care businesses. Marlin raised $64 million for its debut fund in 2005. Probitas Partners served as placement agent for fund II.

CVC seeks $2B

CVC Capital Partners plans to begin raising a $2 billion infrastructure fund early next year, with a focus on infrastructure assets primarily in Europe and Asia. The firm follows such rivals as The Carlyle Group and 3i Group, which have launched infrastructure funds.

It will be run by CEO Stephen Vineburg, who previously was head of global infrastructure investment at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, a unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Citigroup receives carried interest from Asia fund

CVC Asia Pacific, the Asia unit of CVC Capital Partners, is giving Citigroup a 10% slice of the carried interest from its latest buyout fund, even after the bank gave up its role in managing the firm’s vehicles, according to Private Equity Insider.

The Tokyo-based fund, which was formed in 1999 as a joint venture between Citi and CVC Capital Partners, is aiming to raise at least $4 billion for CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific Fund 4.

CVC Asia and Citi parted ways in August, just as CVC Asia Pacific was planning to start fund-raising for the pan-Asian buyout fund. Citi, however, has invested $150 million in the Asian fund, which invests in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Wind Point aims for $1B

Wind Point Partners will begin raising its seventh mid-market buyout fund in January with a $1 billion target, according to LBO Wire. It will have a $1.25 billion hard cap.

The Southfield, Mich.-based firm raised $700 million for its sixth fund, which closed in 2005.

Lion zeroes in on close

Lion Capital, a U.K. buyout firm focused on the consumer products sector, is nearing a $2 billion final close for its second fund, according to Private Equity Insider.

The firm was formed in 2005, when it spun off from Dallas-based Hicks Muse Tate & Furst and raised about $1 billion for its first independent effort.