PE fund briefs, week of June 30, 2008

Northstar Capital goes north of target

Northstar Capital is expected to close its fifth mezzanine fund on Monday, reaching its hard cap of $500 million. The fund, called Northstar Mezzanine Partners V, will have surpassed its $350 million target.

This is a significant jump for the Minneapolis-based mezzanine firm, as Northstar is coming off of a $303 million fourth fund, which closed in April 2006. But it’s not the first time Northstar exceeded its target. That fourth fund was more than $50 million over target.

Investments from the firm’s last fund ranged from $4 million to $20 million in companies with between $20 million and $150 million in revenue.

Avista to reach first close

Avista Capital Partners is approaching a first close on its second fund, slated for July, says a source familiar with the situation. The firm deployed its first $2 billion fund quickly, doing about six deals last year and about 11 in 2006. This time around it’s seeking $3 billion.

Avista’s first fund-raising effort took more than a year. Despite the increase in target size, the firm will likely have a much easier time raising its second fund, says the source.

Smith Whiley raising new mezz fund

Smith Whiley & Co., a mid-market mezzanine fund, has raised $90 million for its third fund. The Hartford, Conn.-based firm, which has an outpost in Chicago, is targeting $200 million, a $90 million increase from its second fund.

The firm, founded by Senior Managing Director Venita E. Fields in 1994, has held two closes to date and plans a final close in November. Previous funds were raised from a mix of endowments, funds of funds and state institutional funds. Funds-of-funds manager Muller & Monroe Asset Management, based in Chicago, committed to a previous Smith Whiley vehicle.

Considering the attraction of mezzanine debt in today’s market, it’s no surprise Smith Whiley has been deploying cash as fast as it can raise it. The firm has accumulated nearly $100 million in commitments for SW Pelham Fund III and put about $90 million to work in deals. The fund had $70 million in commitments locked in at the end of 2007.

Smith Whiley’s investments have gone to support buyout firms and fundless sponsors. The firm has also made direct loans to management teams. With a lower mid-market focus, the firm invests between $3 million and $15 million in companies with enterprise values between $20 million and $250 million and generating more than $3 million in EBITDA.

Smith Whiley focuses on the food, beverage, consumer products, industrial and manufacturing, health care products, and communications and technologies industries.

Intervale closes debut fund

Intervale Capital, a Cambridge, Mass.-based buyout firm focused on the oilfield service and manufacturing sector, has closed its debut fund with more than $280 million in commitments. Champlain Advisors served as placement agent.

The firm, which also has an office in Houston, Texas, had targeted the fund at $200 million.

Centerview raises $430M

Centerview Partners has raised $430 million for its debut private equity fund. The New York-based firm expects to hold a final close at its $850 million target by year-end. UBS is serving as placement agent.

Primus primed for final close

Primus Capital Funds is nearing a final close on its sixth fund. The firm will exceed its $250 million target, says a source familiar with the Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based firm.

Primus raised $285 million for its fifth fund in 2000.

Wind Point sailing toward first close

Wind Point Partners expects to hold a first close on its seventh fund, Wind Point Partners VII, in late July. The fund will be larger than the $700 million sixth fund, which the firm raised in 2005 but didn’t begin investing until 2006.

Last year, the Southfield, Mich.-based firm invested in five deals and about 15 add-ons. About 60% of Wind Point’s deals are add-ons.

Wynnchurch eyes third fund

Wynnchurch Capital is pre-marketing its third fund, Wynnchurch Capital Partners III, according to a source familiar with the firm.

The Rosemont, Ill.-based private equity firm will likely seek as much as $150 million more than its last fund, which raised $350 million in 2005.