PE fund briefs, week of Oct. 13, 2008

Ohio shop on prowl for health care deals

Linsalata Capital Partners is looking for bankers and intermediaries to pitch them deals in health care—a sector in which the firm has yet to invest, says Eric Bacon, senior managing director.

The Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based firm began researching the sector about two years ago, drawn by the size of the health care market, which now comprises about 15% of the nation’s economy. The firm is interested in medical devices and services, such as disposable medical devices, orthopedic products and products that address getting a good night’s sleep. Founded in 1984, Linsalata Capital has made more than 85 acquisitions via six funds. Its latest vehicle, Linsalata Capital Partners Fund V, raised $425 million in 2005.

Throughout its history, the firm has mostly been a generalist investor, taking advantage of opportunities in business services, food service equipment, pet products and services. The firm typically invests $10 million to $50 million of equity in companies generating EBITDA of between $7 million and $35 million.

Bacon and Vice Presidents Jay Studdard and Tim Healy lead the firm’s effort to find health care opportunities, which now account for about 15% of Linsalata Capital’s deal flow. To date, the firm has come up empty on the 10 to 12 deals that it has bid on. The firm is not restricting its search for deals to any particular geography, Bacon says.

Linsalata Capital recently entered the food market after mounting a similar three-year research and outreach effort. The firm bought Hospitality Mints Inc., a Boone, N.C.-based company that makes promotional mints and candies. In that sector, Linsalata Capital is looking for deals in private label (store-brand products) food, niche branded food, and companies that provide food-related services to schools and hospitals. —Bernard Vaughan

Flexpoint muscles up with $1.3B

Flexpoint Ford (f.k.a. Flexpoint Partners), a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the financial services and health care sectors, has closed its second fund with nearly $1.3 billion in commitments. About $800 million is for the firm’s general fund, while $480 million is for an overage fund.

The firm raised $225 million for its first fund in 2005.

Yale University served as the lead LP for fund I and was joined by Commonfund Capital Inc., Ford Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. LPs for fund II have not been disclosed, but the firm is committing $150 million of its own capital to the funds.

The firm’s name change comes as Gerald J. Ford, who has advised the firm and is billed as a “Special Limited Partner,” will serve the firm as chairman. Ford is the banking guru who in 2002 sold Golden State Bancorp, a holding company for banks, to Citigroup for about $6 billion.

HealthpointCapital shoots for $700M

HealthpointCapital is raising up to $700 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. The New York-based buyout firm has already raised more than $410 million in capital commitments.

HealthpointCapital focuses on private equity opportunities in the musculoskeletal sector, specifically orthopedics and dental. The firm raised $420 million for its second fund, which closed in early 2007.

BET founder Johnson raising $300M

RLJ Equity Partners, a private equity firm headed by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, has raised three-quarters of its $300 million target, according to LBO Wire. Limited partners include General Electric.