Smith Whiley Raising, Deploying New Mezz Fund

Firm: Smith Whiley & Company

Fund: SW Pelham Fund III LP

Target: $200 million

Amount Raised: $100 million

Smith Whiley & Company, a middle market mezzanine fund, is in the midst of raising its third fund, with $90 million in commitments so far. The firm, based in Hartford, Conn., with an outpost in Chicago, is targeting $200 million, a $90 million increase from its second fund.

Considering the attraction of mezzanine debt in today’s market, it’s no surprise Smith Whiley has been deploying cash as fast as it can raise it. The firm has accumulated nearly $100 million in commitments for SW Pelham Fund III LP and put about $90 million to work in deals. The fund had $70 million in commitments locked in at the end of 2007.

The firm, founded by Senior Managing Director Venita E. Fields in 1994, has held two closes to date and plans a final close in November. Past funds garnered support from a mix of endowments, funds of funds and state institutional funds. Funds-of-funds manager Muller & Monroe Asset Management, based in Chicago, previously committed to a Smith Whiley vehicle, Buyouts has reported.

Smith Whiley’s investments have gone tosupport buyout firms and fundless sponsors. The firm has also made direct loans to management teams. With a lower mid-market focus, the firm invests between $3 million and $15 million in companies with enterprise values between $20 million and $250 million and generating more than $3 million in EBITDA.

It committed $9 million in subordinated notes and warrants and preferred stock and warrants to Midwest Dental Inc., a provider of dental services that Thoma Cressey Bravo purchased from Chicago LBO shop Svoboda Collins in 2007. Smith Whiley focuses on the food, beverage, consumer products, industrial and manufacturing, health care products, and communications and technologies industries.