Great Hill seeking $750m

Boston-based Great Hill Partners has launched its third fund, seeking $750m. The firm has already crossed the half-way point toward that sum.

Boston-based Great Hill Partners has launched its latest fund according to SEC documents, setting a target of $750 million (€611 million) for Great Hill Equity Partners III, LP. The new vehicle, based on data in the filing, has so far closed on $510 million in commitments.

Christopher Gaffney, co-founder, Great Hill Partners

Great Hill’s previous fund, Great Hill Equity Partners II, was raised in 2001 and was capitalised with $460 million, while the 1999-vintage debut fund took in $330 million.

There was no indication in the SEC filing as to which institutions have backed the firm’s latest vehicle. Past investors, however, include the likes of the State of Pennsylvania Retirement System, the Washington State Investment Board, JPMorgan Asset Management, Commonfund Capital, Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina, among others.

Great Hill is one of the firms that spun out from Media/Communications Partners in 1998, which was essentially split in half to allow the two resulting firms to pursue separate stages of investments. M/C Venture Partners, the other spinout, targets early-stage companies, while Great Hill keeps its activity confined to later-stage financings and buyouts.

A typical equity investment from the firm ranges from $20 million to $75 million in size, according to the Great Hill website, and the group will take either a control or a minority position.

The firm was founded by Christopher Gaffney, Stephen Gormley and John Hayes, all Media/Communications vets. Matt Vettel, who is also a managing director, joined the firm at its founding, coming over from GTCR Golder Rauner.

Great Hill’s focus still encompasses the media and communications space, as well as business services and information technology. Recent activity from the firm includes the buyout of Central Security Group, a provider of security alarm monitoring services, as well as realisations of investments in electronic bill payment outfit BillMatrix and IGN Entertainment, a website operator that News Corp. agreed to buy in September.