Nautic returns $239m to LPs

The Rhode Island private equity firm has exited cable operator Gans Communication for two times their initial $38m investment, capping off a twelve month period that saw ten other liquidity events totaling $239m.

Providence, Rhode Island-based private equity firm Nautic Partners announced today the November sale of cable TV operator Gans Communications to Harron Entertainment in a transaction that generated a multiple of two times the company’s initial $38 million (€29 million) investment and a return in excess of 40 percent.

The deal represents the first exit for Nautic Partners V, a $1.1 billion fund that closed in 2000.

Over the past twelve months, Nautic has returned $239 million to its limited partners through four exits totaling $152 million and distributions from seven other portfolio companies totaling $87 million.

In addition to Gans, Nautic exited three other companies including:  rifle manufacturer Savage Sports for 7.8 times their initial investment, floral company FTD for a return of 10.2 times and North American Health Plans for 1.6 times. The investments in the three companies occurred in the mid 1990’s with equity provided by Fleet Equity Capital, the predecessor firm to Nautic Partners.

In a statement, Nautic managing director Habib Gorgi noted that he expects 2005 to surpass the performance of the prior year.

The firm expects to raise a new fund in 2006 with a target between $1.0 billion and $1.5 billion. Currently, Nautic Partners V is approximately 60 percent committed.

Nautic Partners was spun out of Fleet Financial in 1999 and currently manages more than $1.8 billion of capital. Last week, Nautic acquired Contec, a cable box maintenance and repair company, investing $50 million of equity into the deal.