Seidler’s $1.25bn Fund VIII passes finish line in less than 90 days

What makes the fund’s experience unique is the rocky market backdrop. Because of tight LP supply, GPs took an average of 11.2 months to close funds in 2022, the longest timeline in more than a decade.

While many GPs are taking longer to close their funds, Seidler Equity Partners wrapped up an eighth mid-market offering in quick time, sources told Buyouts.

Seidler Equity Partners VIII, unveiled in early January, closed at its $1.25 billion hardcap before the end of March – or in less than 90 days, sources said. It was not assisted by a placement agent.

This is not the first time Seidler has wound-up capital raising at a fast pace. Fund VII reached its $800 million hardcap in 2020 within three months of launching. Its $600 million predecessor did the same in 2017 within 60 days.

What makes Fund VIII’s experience unique is the rocky market backdrop. Fundraising slowed last year because of a shift in dynamics that resulted in GPs struggling to access tighter LP supply. This led to extended timelines: sponsors took an average of 11.2 months to close funds, the longest in more than a decade.

As with prior vehicles, Seidler’s Fund VIII benefited from “heavy re-ups” from longstanding investors, sources said. They include endowments and foundations, family offices, funds of funds, and insurers in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

LPs “rewarded the track record,” sources said, as well as “zero strategy shift” and no turnover among Seidler’s key principals.

Seidler was established in 1992 as a family office by brothers Peter and Robert Seidler. A third founder and managing partner, Eric Kutsenda, joined in 1999 as Seidler prepared for its debut institutional fund.

The firm’s strategy is to invest in growing mid-market businesses, typically with EBITDA of $15 million to $60 million. Target companies, which operate in sectors like consumer, manufacturing, healthcare and business services, are mostly founder-owned, with Seidler often providing the first institutional capital.

Because it partners with businesses in different situations and with different capital needs, Seidler invests flexibly, acquiring either majority or minority interests. To date, it has been a minority owner in more than half of all investments.

In addition, Seidler makes minimal use of leverage in deals and frequently holds portfolio companies beyond the traditional private equity horizon of three to five years. From offices in Los Angeles and Sydney, it sources opportunities in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Seidler reports completing more than 60 investments and 100-plus add-on acquisitions. One of its best-known deals is Rawlings, a sports equipment maker bought alongside Major League Baseball in 2018 from Newell Brands for $395 million. Peter Seidler is the chairman of the San Diego Padres and an investor in the ball club.

More recent investments include Redbarn Pet Products, a pet treats, chews and food provider, and Unleashed Brands, a franchisor of youth enrichment brands. Both were made last year.

Fund VII is now fully invested, sources said. Its successor, which is expected to invest in 10 to 12 businesses, is likely to do an inaugural deal later this year.

The Seidler brothers and Kutsenda oversee a team of more than 40 US and Australian professionals, among them partners Tom Denot, Leonard Lee, Eric O’Brien, Tobin Ryan, Matt Seidler and Scott Yingling.

Seidler declined to provide a comment on this story.