Texas Teacher Retirement System pledges $15 mln to Blue Sea Capital

  • Texas Teachers taps EM program for commitment
  • Blue Sea Capital founded by Brockway Moran veterans
  • New firm lands major private equity LP

Blue Sea Capital’s Fund I has drawn a $15 million commitment from the $118 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, as the Florida-based lower mid-market buyout shop lands a major private equity LP in its effort to spin off from Brockway Moran & Partners.

Blue Sea Capital Fund I has lined up Lazard as a placement agent for its debut fund, according to a source familiar with the firm.  Blue Sea Capital also listed Lazard as a placement agent in a Form D filing in November. The document disclosed a fundraising target of $270 million and $193 million in commitments.

Executives at Blue Sea listed as officers of the fund include Richard Wandoff, James Davis Jr., Mark Silk, Scott Kirkendall, Matthew Turk and Andrew T. Boswell.

Blue Sea’s fundraising goal may be easier to reach with the backing of Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which runs one of the largest private equity programs in the U.S. among public pension funds, with a portfolio of more than $14 billion. Rich Hall serves as managing director of private equity for the system, with Stuart Bernstein serving as manager of the emerging program.

Based in Palm Beach, Blue Sea Capital bills itself as a team of proven lower middle-market principal investors and operators focused on the aerospace & defense, healthcare, and industrial growth sectors, according to its website.

The firm seeks portfolio companies with up to $20 million in EBITDA and up to $150 million in total value. It looks for transactions of up to $60 million in total equity.

Blue Sea’s special sauce includes its focus on long-term, middle-market results, deep industry expertise and “transformational capabilities,” a selective, quality over quantity model.

Partners Davis and Wandoff are former Brockway Moran partners, Silk, also a Blue Sea partner, is the former president and CEO of Tri-Star Electronics and Integrated Aerospace — both Brockway Moran portfolio companies.

Peter Brockway, founder of Brockway Moran & Partners, is listed as a senior advisor at the firm. He founded the firm after working at Trivest Partners LP, another Florida-based buyout shop, for 11 years.

Meanwhile, Brockway Moran & Partners, a mid-market firm founded in 1998, is not raising a new fund, sister website peHUB reported last year.

Brockway Moran has invested in Gold’s Gym and Cosmetic Essence, with a strong performance in its first two funds, but the last fund ”fell off a cliff,” a source told peHUB.