PE fund briefs, week of Sept. 22, 2008

Trivest Partners closes above target

Trivest Partners has closed its fourth fund, raising $325 million and beating its $300 million target. Trivest Partners closed its previous fund, Trivest Fund III, in 2001 with $316 million in limited partner commitments.

LPs in the new fund, which is already 20% invested, include Credit Suisse, GE Equity, Morgan Creek Capital Management, Parish Capital and the Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. The remainder of limited partners represent a mix of corporate pensions, fund of funds, endowments and foundations, family offices and financial institutions.

“It’s a difficult market out there but we were met with a very strong reception due to the fact that we’ve been in this business for 27 years and in that entire time have always stayed focused on the lower middle market,” says Trivest Managing Partner Troy Templeton.

Miami-based Trivest Partners participates in transactions valued up to $250 million, putting its money in U.S. and Canadian companies generating revenue of $25 million. The firm focuses on founder-owned and family-owned businesses in business services, consumer products, franchises and niche manufacturing.

To date, Trivest has made two investments using fund IV equity. The first investment was made in Nov. 2007 with the acquisition of DirectBuy, a franchisor of membership-based buying clubs. Trivest raised a $100 million equity co-investment separate from fund IV to finance that deal.

Its second investment is ATX Networks Inc., a provider of cable network equipment and infrastructure services that Trivest Partners acquired last month. Terms of the deal, which included leverage from CIBC Leveraged Finance, CIT Capital Ltd. and Bank of Nova Scotia, were not disclosed.

“The debt markets remain open for deals of our size, and we’re off to a good start from an investment-pace standpoint,” says Jamie Elias, a partner at Trivest Partners. —Ari Nathanson

280 Capital raising $250M

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based 280 Capital Partners has launched and it’s looking to raise $250 million for its first fund, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The tech-focused firm—named after Highway 280 that runs through Sunnyvale—is so new that its website is still under construction. Furthermore, it has no filings and no media mentions could be found. The main point of contact, Jeffrey Dunn, declined comment on the story in an email.

The 280 Capital Partners team also includes former Warburg Pincus Partner Greg Back (according to a search of LinkedIn records) and former Warburg Pincus CEO-in Residence Dave Martin. —Erin Griffith

Vector Capital raises debt fund

San Francisco-based Vector Capital has transformed from a venture firm into a $2 billion buyout juggernaut over the past 10 years, and now it’s getting into the debt side of the business.

Managing Partner Alex Slusky says that the tech-focused shop has raised $200 million from a single, undisclosed limited partner to lend to technology companies to finance add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and other strategic initiatives; to finance technology buyouts led by other firms; and to buy debt on the secondary market.

The firm plans to invite other LPs into the fund as it evolves.

The news comes as part of an upcoming profile of Slusky in the Sept. 22 issue of Buyouts, an affiliated publication to PE Week. —Bernard Vaughan

Elysian Capital eyes U.S. expansion

Elysian Capital, which has been marketing its debut fund to European LPs in the past weeks, is preparing to begin marketing the vehicle in the United States, according to Private Equity Insider.

London-based Elysian, which is working with placement agent Capstone Partners, expects to raise about $360 million to invest in U.K.-based mid-size companies.