TA Ices Big Return On Refrigeration Co.

Target: Preferred Freezer Services LLC

Price: $200 million

Sponsor: Fenway Partners

Seller: TA Associates

Financial Advisers: Sponsor: UBS; Seller: Lazard

Legal Advisers: Sponsor: Ropes & Gray LLP; Seller: Goodwin Procter LLP

TA Associates recently exited its third investment of the year, selling Preferred Freezer Services LLC to Fenway Partners for around $200 million.

The deal netted TA Associates roughly 3x the $35 million of equity and $30 million of subordinated debt it invested in the Newark, N.J.-based refrigerated warehouse company in 2005.

The deal also marked another in a string of exits for the Boston-based firm in 2008. In April, TA Associates agreed to sell Clayton Holdings Inc., a Shelton, Conn.-based company that provides analysis and consulting services for investors in mortgage-related loans and securities and other debt instruments, to Greenfield Partners LLC, a real estate investment firm, for $133 million. And in June, TA Associates and Internet Capital Group Inc. agreed to sell Creditex Group Inc., a New York-based electronic derivatives broker, for $625 million in cash and stock. TA Associates also landed five times its money in June when it sold 4.2 million shares of common stock in typeface producer Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc., netting $56.7 million.

Roger Kafker, managing director, declined to say how much the deals allowed TA Associates to return to its investors.

TA Associates wasn’t planning on selling the company, but that changed after CEO John Galiher told the firm he’d been approached by a number of potential buyers interested in expanding the company internationally. Galiher ultimately warmed to Fenway Partners because of its experience in the transportation and logistics industry, expertise that should prove beneficial as Preferred Freezer expands its distribution network, said Marc Kramer, managing director at Fenway Partners. Kramer said he courted Galiher for more than two years.

During TA Associates’s hold period, Preferred Freezer created new locations in Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. The company now has 23 facilities. Fenway Partners plans to expand the company into China and Vietnam, Kramer said.

For Fenway Partners, Preferred Freezer represents its first acquisition in 2008. The firm looked at close to 300 deals in the transportation and logistics sector in 2007.