Trivest Partners Wraps Up Fifth Fund At $415M

Firm: Trivest Partners

Fund: Trivest Fund V LP

Target: $325 million

Amount Raised: $415 million (including $15 million GP commitment)

Placement Agent: Shannon Advisors

The firm got the job done on the strength of its track record buying companies generating $5 million to $20 million of EBITDA in such industries as business services, consumer products and niche manufacturing. Most of its prior investors, including Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Morgan Creek Capital Management and Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. re-upped for Trivest Fund V LP; new investors this time around include funds-of-funds managers Adams Street Partners and AlpInvest Partners.

Trivest Partners, which employs about 20 people, including some 15 investment professionals, makes a specialty of buying, directly from founders, companies that aren’t operating at their full potential. The firm generally tries to double or triple their size through both operational improvements and add-on deals.

It’s a strategy that requires staff to place thousands of calls per year to business brokers, attorneys, accountants and the companies themselves to unearth opportunities. Known to get creative with ways to stay top-of-mind with brokers, the firm has run contests around sporting events; and it offers brokers a three-year lease to an S-class Mercedes Benz on the closing of a platform deal they originated, according to our source.

The predecessor fund closed in June 2008 at $325 million and has 10 portfolio companies, not counting the exit of ATX Networks. The 2010 sale of that company, a manufacturer of cable TV equipment, returned about $145 million to the firm, or 45 percent of Fund IV. Altogether the firm has returned more than half of Fund IV to investors, due to the one exit and dividend recaps, and the fund as a whole is heading for a “great return,” according to our source.

Among the firm’s newest portfolio companies, acquired late last year, are Take 5 Oil Change Inc., a chain of car service centers located in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, and Hazmasters Inc., a Canadian company that supplies employee health and safety products.