Leonard Green Closes Fund IV on $1.85bn

The Los Angeles-based firm has exceeded its original $1.5bn target for its fourth mid-market fund.

(PrivateEquityCentral.net) US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners announced today it closed its fourth fund last month on $1.85bn, less than three months after the death of the firm’s founder, Leonard Green.

The fund, Green Equity Investors IV, had an original target of $1.5bn, according to a press release, and began the fund raising process last May.

The fund’s limited partners include CalPERS, the state pension funds of Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Florida, and New York, according to John Danhakl, a partner at Leonard Green & Partners. The fund will invest in middle market companies in the US with enterprise values between $200m and $1bn. The firm will look for growing, cash-flow positive businesses with a market-leading franchise and a strong management team. The firm’s third fund closed on $1.24bn in 1998.

There are a few reasons the fund raising was such a success, Danhakl said. One is that Fund III was a top performer. “We returned over $200m to our LPs last year and have had great support from our long-term limited partners, like CalPERS.”

Leonard Green & Partners has been quiet for the past few years. Its last major acquisition was in September 2000, when the firm teamed with The Korea Times Los Angeles, to back a $165m buyout of International Media Group, the country’s largest multilingual television broadcaster. The company is now called AsianMedia Group and has television stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Honolulu. However, three of its portfolio companies, sporting good stores Gart Sports and Big 5 Sporting Goods, and newspaper publisher Liberty Group Publishing, have filed for an initial public offering.

Leonard Green & Partners pursues opportunities in a broad range of industries. The firm generally makes investments only in established businesses with values in excess of $100m. Both private and public companies, as well as subsidiaries and divisions of larger corporations, are considered for investment. Investments are not made in start-ups or in businesses where success is subject to a high degree of technological risk. While the focus on the United States is the predominant source of its investments, the firm will consider carefully selected opportunities in Canada, Australia and Europe. Three partners now lead the firm: John Danhakl, Peter Nolan, and Jonathan Sokoloff.


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