Juniper closes debut institutional fund on $500m hard-cap

The fund launched in the first quarter of 2015 and will target the mid-market upstream oil and gas investment opportunities resulting from the energy market dislocation.

Mid-market firm Juniper Capital Advisors held a final close of its debut institutionally-backed private equity fund, Juniper Capital II, on its hard-cap of $500 million.

Terry Crikelair, managing partner of Juniper’s exclusive placement agent Champlain Advisors, said the fund is considered its first institutionally-backed fund because Juniper Capital I, which raised about $90 million, was mainly backed by friends and family.

Crikelair added that Houston-based Juniper launched the second fund in the first quarter of 2015 and held a first close in November 2015, with a target and hard-cap of $500 million. An SEC filing from 25 October indicated there are 76 investors in this fund.

The fund seeks to make equity investments of between $25 million and $75 million in upstream oil and gas companies, mainly in the US, according to a statement from the firm.

“This period of market dislocation has created opportunities that rival the best I have seen in my 40-year career,” Juniper partner Richard Gordon said in a Monday statement.

This was recently echoed by Blackstone’s Michael Chae, who said during the firm’s third-quarter earnings conference call that, after zero investments in upstream assets in 2015, the firm has closed three upstream deals totalling $1.3 billion in the third quarter, with more transactions on the horizon.

According to Crikelair, Juniper Capital II has closed on five deals to date.

The fund close follows several months of volatility in the energy market, with benchmark Brent crude oil price beginning to plunge in late-2014 and dipping to a record-low of $26 per barrel in January 2016. Since then, the price has gained 76 percent to around $46 per barrel.

Juniper was established in 2003 by Richard Gordon, who was previously vice chairman of Merrill Lynch’s investment banking group and head of energy, power, structured finance and Canadian groups, and Edward Geiser, a former managing director focusing on private energy investment at Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to Juniper’s website.

The firm has invested more than $650 million through more than 40 transactions in the North American energy sector. Its current investments include multiple reservoirs in the Fort Worth Basin, a Michigan oil field redevelopment and horizontal drilling in South Texas, according to its website.

A Juniper spokesman was not available to comment by press time.