Silver Lake Holds Last Big Close of 2003 –

On Dec. 20, Silver Lake Partners held its first close on Silver Lake Partners II, the firm’s second LBO fund aimed primarily at technology buyouts. One source pegged the amount raised at “at least $1.8 billion,” although a separate source told Buyouts the figure topped $2 billion.

Silver Lake seemed to have had an easy go of fund raising thus far, introducing its PPM in September and raking in the dough within 90 days. And while the target for Fund II is $3 billion, a source said the final tally would be in the “neighborhood of $3.5 billion.” Ninety percent of Silver Lake Partners’ LPs from Fund I reupped, according to a source. A second closing is scheduled for February.

Silver Lake is remaining tight-lipped regarding Fund II.

In April 2002, the firm hired Alan Austin as managing director and COO, who is coming off a three-year stint with venture firm Accel Partners. Shortly thereafter, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based LBO shop performed one of the year’s largest PIPE deals, investing $200 million into electronics manufacturing services company Flextronics.

Then, looking to improve on a less-than stellar -19% return (as of Dec. 2002), in July 2003 the firm unloaded Crystal Decisions Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of business intelligence software. At a time when the public markets didn’t want to see another tech IPO, the firm circumvented the public markets and instead sold the company for a reported $1.2 billion to strategic buyer Business Objects (based on the closing price of Business Objects shares on the last day of business prior to the Dec. 11 closing of the deal).

Most recently, Silver Lake Managing Director Edward Zander resigned to become Motorola’s chairman and CEO. Silver Lake can’t be too disappointed in losing Zander, however, as his shift will certainly give Silver Lake an advantage in the fight for Motorola’s semiconductor unit, SPS Spinco Inc., which some say could go for more than $2 billion on the public market. The spinoff of the semiconductor unit is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs. Interestingly enough, Motorola filed with the SEC to spin off the company less than 24 hours after Zander came on board.