PE fund briefs, week of Oct. 22, 2007

Spire Capital poised to close second media fund

Media specialist and growth capital investor Spire Capital Partners is expected to soon close on target with $300 million for its sophomore vehicle, which is below its hard cap of $400 million.

The small-market shop was launched in April 2000 by four co-founders of Walter-Sutton Media Partners. Its inaugural fund closed with $260 million in 2000. Investors in that debut fund include Bessemer Trust, CIBC Capital Partners, Citizens Capital Inc., First Union Investors Inc., Northeast Utilities and West LB Asset Management.

The New York-based firm earlier this year began investing from Spire Capital Partners II, earmarked for growth investments of $15 million to $25 million in media, communications and business services. In one early deal from the fund, the firm acquired SalvageSale Inc., a Houston, Texas-based company that provides an online marketplace and other services for commercial insurance salvage and corporate end-of-life assets.

The firm also took a majority stake in Professional Bull Riders Inc., a Colorado Springs, Colo., company that bills itself as offering “the greatest show on dirt.”

Spire Capital invested in 11 companies from its first fund, including Nassau Broadcasting Partners, a radio broadcasting company, and SkyMall Inc., which publishes the SkyMall catalog found in airplane seatback pockets.

Wilbur Ross aims for $4B more

Turnaround king Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of W.L. Ross & Co., is raising up to $4 billion for his firm’s fourth general fund, according to a regulatory filing. The $4 billion target, which is more money than he’s ever raised before, would essentially double his firm’s assets under management. The filing indicates that WLR Recovery Fund IV already has secured around $2.24 billion in commitments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and other limited partners.

Ross last raised a general fund in 2005, when WLR Recovery Partners III closed with nearly $1.2 billion. Since then, his firm was absorbed by Amvescap and reportedly raised a $685 million co-investment vehicle with Goldman Sachs.

Ross did not respond to a request for comment.

Goldman plans 2nd infrastructure fund

Goldman Sachs

is considering a follow-up to its $6.5 billion infrastructure fund that it raised in December, according to Private Equity Insider.

Investors have said that the firm, headed up by Steven Feldman and William Young, is gauging interest from some limited partners to raise a similar size fund. The firm’s current infrastructure fund is reportedly close to three-quarters invested.

MHR closes third fund

MHR Fund Management

has closed its third fund with $3.5 billion, according to LBO Wire. The New York-based firm focuses on distressed opportunities in the middle-markets. Limited partners include Arcano Capital, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Montana Board of Investments and the New Jersey Division of Investment.

Credit Suisse served as placement agent.

Abraaj nears $2B

Abraaj Capital has held a $1.2 billion second close for its infrastructure and growth capital fund, which will focus on opportunities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. This brings the fund’s total commitments to $1.7 billion, with the $2 billion target expected to be reached by year-end.

Industri Kapital closes fund VI

Industri Kapital has closed its sixth fund with nearly $2.4 billion in capital commitments. This is more than double the size of the Nordic buyout firm’s prior fund, which closed in 2004. Limited partners include Pantheon Ventures, Standard Life, HarbourVest, Partners Group, Lansforsakringar, New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and AIG, among others. UBS served as placement agent.