PE fund briefs, week of Sept. 29, 2008

Alpine looks to climb up with fourth fund

Alpine Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, is marketing its fourth fund, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The fund has a $175 million target and a $205 million hard cap, which represents a slight jump over Alpine’s last fund. Alpine Investors III closed in March 2007 with $125 million in commitments.

The firm is not using a placement agent and expects to hold a first close on Nov. 1, according to one source.

Alpine invests in companies with greater than $2 million in EBITDA in a variety of industries. The firm was formed in 2001 by Graham Weaver, a former partner with Oak Hill Capital. —Erin Griffith

GI Partners reaches $1.8B

GI Partners, which makes control-oriented equity investments between $25 million and $250 million, has raised about $1.8 billion for its third fund, which is targeted at $2.5 billion, according to a source familiar with the situation. The buyout firm expects to hold its next close in the first quarter, the source says.

The $1.45 billion GI Partners Fund II, which was raised in 2006, is fully invested, the source says.

The firm wasn’t available for comment.

The firm invests in healthy and distressed companies in such industries as health care services, hospitality, leisure and retail, logistics, media, entertainment, financial services, technology, telecom services and infrastructure in the United States and Western Europe, according to its website. GI Partners has offices in Menlo Park, Calif., and London.

The firm has already completed a deal from its third fund, having acquired Care Aspirations, a provider of mental health services in the United Kingdom, in late August.

Rick Magnuson founded GI Partners in 2000. Prior to that, he was deputy partner with Nomura Group’s Principal Finance Group in London. —Michael Baron

Insight Equity raising $500M

Insight Equity, a Southlake, Texas-based turnaround private equity firm, is almost doubling its fund size in its sophomore effort.

Insight is seeking to raise $500 million for its second fund, up from the $280 million it raised for its inaugural fund in 2005.

The firm is marketing Insight Equity II with UBS as its placement agent, says a source familiar with the situation.

Interestingly, in a development that has cropped up more frequently, Insight is raising a mezzanine fund alongside its buyout fund. The purpose of the side mezzanine fund is that the firm’s deals will have no contingencies. Insight can have the mezzanine financing already in place for its companies.

It’s similar to the strategy of ABRY Partners, which invests currently from a $900 million general private equity fund alongside a $650 million mezzanine fund.

Insight is headed by CEO and founder Ted Beneski, who spent time at The Carlyle Group’s turnaround business and opened the Dallas office of Bain & Co. Insight buys companies with enterprise values between $50 million and $500 million in a variety of industries, including energy. This year, the company purchased interests in W.C. Rice Oil Co., Allied Energy Corp. and Allied Renewable Energy. —Erin Griffith

KarpReilly raises $200M from 4 investors

KarpReilly, a newly formed mid-market buyout firm, has held a first close on its first fund, according to a source familiar with the situation. The Greenwich, Conn.-based firm has received $200 million in commitments, anchored by JPMorgan and Blackrock.

In raising its debut fund, co-founders Alan Karp and Christopher Reilly only contacted an initial pool of six investors, receiving commitments from four. Now the firm is marketing to a broader pool of investors to raise the final $50 million to meet the fund’s goal of $250 million, according to the source.

The firm incorporated in December 2007 and had raised $200 million by April, according to a regulatory filing.

Karp and Reilly were partners at mid-market buyout firm Saunders Karp & Megrue before it was purchased by Apax Partners in 2005. The duo left in late 2006 as Apax was expected to wrap up its Apax Excelsior VII fund.

KarpReilly writes $10 million to $75 million equity checks to companies in the consumer, health care services, business services, retail, restaurants and building products industries. KarpReilly has already invested in Slant Inc., a designer of women’s plus-sized apparel, and Tina Turk, a contemporary Los Angeles-based apparel designer. —Erin Griffith