West Hill Nears First Close For Debut Fund

Firm: West Hill Partners

Fund: West Hill Partners I

Target: $500 million

Amount Raised: $250 million to $300 million

Placement Agent: Park Hill Group

Legal Advisor: Ropes & Gray

Boston-based West Hill Partners, a firm created in 2007 by ex-J.W. Childs Associates executives to make control investments in middle-market growth companies, is expected to soon hold a first closing on West Hill Partners I.

Look for the close to occur before the end of the third quarter and to be in the $250 million to $300 million range. The firm, which is targeting $500 million, began marketing the fund in October of 2007.

West Hill seeks companies with enterprise values from $50 million to $400 million, focusing on consumer products, specialty retail, business services and health care services industries, and generating EBITDA of more than $10 million. West Hill makes investments of at least $25 million.

The firm has six investment professionals, five of whom worked together for several years at J. W. Childs Associates, a Boston-based middle-market buyout firm. In mid-May of last year, Dana Schmaltz and Ted Yun departed J.W. Childs to launch West Hill. James Rhee, Jeffrey Teschke and Mark Tricolli left J.W. Childs in July 2007 to join their former colleagues. William Altieri III was previously with TAG Venture Partners.

The departures from J.W. Childs reportedly stemmed from the firm’s unsuccessful attempt to raise a $2.5 billion fourth fund, according to a May 2007 article on PEHub, a sister Web site published by Thomson Reuters. The effort began in 2006 but never got off the ground after limited partners said they wanted to see additional exits from J.W. Childs Equity Partners III, LP, a fund with total committed capital of $1.75 billion and which closed in 2002 with about 140 backers. According to the University Of Texas Investment Management Co., the IRR of that fund stood at 13.9 percent as of May 31, 2007, while its investment multiple was 1.3.

West Hill has hired Park Hill Group as its placement agent and Ropes & Gray as its legal advisor.