Falconhead holds final close on $290m(2)

The New York leisure, lifestyle and media specialist has raised a new fund along with a co-investment fund.

Falconhead Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, has announced the final closes on its latest funds, rounding up a total of $290 million (€215 million).

The funds include a $255 million private equity vehicle and a new $35 million discretionary co-investment fund. The funds exceeded the firm’s original target of $275 million.

About 20 percent of the new capital has already been invested. In the portfolio are: Our365, a provider of in-hospital infant portrait services, and Extreme Fitness, a Toronto area fitness centre chain, both acquired in 2006, as well as ESCORT, a maker of high-end automobile consumer products, acquired in 2005.

Limited partners in the new funds include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Nova Private Equity Partners, Sobrato Development Company and Willamette University. Credit Suisse served as the placement agent.

The firm’s previous fund reached $214 million in commitments in 2001.

Falconhead was co-founded in 1998 by David Moross and Mark McCormack (who passed away in 2004). JP Morgan Chase & Co. was a significant backer of the firm at its inception.

The firm was originally known as Sports Capital Partners and focused on “sports and related businesses”, according to press releases from the time. One of the firm’s first deals was its acquisition of the Skip Barber Racing School, a trainer of professional and amateur race car drivers. In Falconhead’s early years it received deal flow from sports talent agency IMG, of which McCormack was the chairman.

The firm has since expanded beyond its sports focus and now is active in the leisure, lifestyle and media sectors. Falconhead has recently executed several profitable exits. In 2006 it sold National Powersport Auctions, an auctioneer of repossessed powersport vehicles, for 4x return on its initial $50 million investment. Falconhead sold Maritime Telecommunications Network, a communications services company, to Perseus for a 5x return.