Webster Capital Goes Abroad to Raise Sophomore Fund

With a healthy dose of commitments from international wealthy families, Boston-based Webster Capital will soon hold a final close on its sophomore fund, Webster Capital Fund II LP. The firm should close on $200 million next month, a source familiar with the effort told Buyouts.

Going abroad to raise money could become a popular trend this year among buyout pros who plan to invest only in U.S. companies, especially if the U.S. dollar remains listless. European investors can take advantage of the weakened dollar to snag a greater stake in limited partnerships for the same amount of their currency. And U.S.-based general partners can gain an expanded LP base.

Despite the limited partnership’s foreign cash stream, Webster Capital plans to deploy this vehicle solely to acquire U.S. companies. In fact, the GP has already made its first investment from Fund II. The firm partnered with Allied Capital Corp., a business development company, to acquire Comfort Keepers, a franchisor that provides in-home, non-medical care for seniors and other needy adults. Allied Capital provided a total of $44.3 million in senior and subordinated debt, a revolving credit facility and a minority equity investment.

Webster Capital makes control investments in small companies that have a strong, established brand and a loyal customer base. The firm invests between $2 million and $15 million in equity per transaction, and targets companies with less than $10 million in annual EBITDA and annual revenue between $20 million and $100 million. It operates in the consumer goods, healthcare service and business services sectors. MooreCo. Inc., a furniture maker, and Sundance Catalog Co., a clothing, jewelry and gift catalog, are among the companies in Webster Capital’s portfolio. With its first fund, a $50 million vehicle, the LBO shop had to seek out some third-party, co-investment capital for a few transactions, a practice it hopes to emply less often with Fund II.

Webster Capital launched in 2002. The firm has five investment professionals on staff: Principals Charlie Larkin, Andrew McKee and Don Steiner, Managing Director David Malm and Associate Sarah Bullard.—J.P.