SFW, Carlyle push buyout fund-raising over $60B

Fund-raising was working on all gears two weeks ago, with efforts by Boston-based firms Bain Capital and ABRY Partners, but the activity last week was a lot tamer across the board.

SFW Capital Partners completed fund raising for its debut fund, SFW Capital Partners Fund I, with more than $300 million in commitments. The Rye, N.Y.-based middle-market private equity firm invests in mid-sized companies in select segments of the health care and industrial sectors.

The Carlyle Group also secured about $210 million for Carlyle Mezzanine Partners II, which seeks to collect up to $1 billion, according to a regulatory filing. The firm previously raised about $436 million for its debut mezzanine fund in 2005. The capital raised by buyout and mezzanine funds nudged ahead to just over $60 billion so far this year.

In addition, U.S.-based LBO shops completed eight deals in the past week, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week). Only a couple of deals had disclosed prices that totaled $154 million.

Centre Partners Management and Centre Southwest Partners sold Nexus Gas Holdings to Regency Energy Partners (Nasdaq: RGNC) for $85 million, plus certain contingent payments. Nexus Gas Holdings, a parent of a midstream provider of natural gas gathering, dehydration and compression services, was formed by the two private equity firms along with two experienced midstream executives (Fritz Brinkman and Mike Davis) in late 2006.

Princeton, N.J.-based Sovereign Investment Co. also completed a $69 million sale-leaseback deal that allowed Lone Star Funds to recapitalize its investment in Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon restaurants. The fund sold 32 properties to Sovereign Investments, which leased back the properties for at least 15 years. Lone Star Funds took the casual dining steakhouse private in December 2006.

One of the other deals is Sun Capital Partners Inc.’s acquisition of Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc., a Toronto-based operator and franchisor of 166 stores that sells coffee and tea. Anthony Polazzi, a vice president at Sun Capital, said in a press release, “Timothy’s represents an exciting opportunity to invest in the retail and wholesale coffee segments, a rapidly growing area of the food and beverage industry.” The firm plans to expand the chain organically and through add-on acquisitions in Canada and in the U.S. Year-to-date deal volume inched up to about $38.5 billion. —Eamon Beltran