Sorenson closes second fund on $400m

The 3-year old firm has closed the largest-ever private equity vehicle raised by a Utah-based buyout firm – though without participation of two founding managing directors, including former American football star Steve Young.

Sorenson Capital has garnered total commitments of $400 million (€271 million) for the firm’s second fund targeting the small-to-medium segment of the middle market. The firm says it is the largest vehicle ever raised by a Utah-based private equity firm.

Continuing the strategy of its predecessor fund, which closed on $250 million in 2004, SCP II will invest in companies with revenues of between $30 million and $300 million, and will focus particularly on companies in the US’ West and Mountain West regions.

“We want to find and help grow enterprises in the western United States that have promising products or services and positive cash flows,” Fraser Bullock, one of Sorenson’s founding managing directors and former chief operating officer of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, said in a statement. “We’re Westerners ourselves and we believe many of the businesses in this region have plenty of untapped potential.”

In addition to Bullock, Sorenson’s founding general partners include Ron Mika, a former Bain Capital managing director and Tim Layton, former president of Medeco Security Locks. Two other founding managing directors are not associated with the firm’s second fund: Steve Young, the former star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team, and Richard Lawson, the former president of Found, an e-commerce services provider.

Two principals in Fund I, however, have become managing directors for Fund II: Matt Lehman and Luke Sorenson.

The firm’s first fund, which invested in 16 companies, was backed by institutions including funds of funds Adams Street Partners and Wilshire Private Markets Group; pension giant CalPERS; and the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Sorenson was seeded with an investment from the Sorenson family, heirs to the medical device fortune built by James LeVoy Sorenson. Another key backer was Robert Gay, a Bain Capital managing director that is now featured in ads for the Presidential campaign of former Bain leader Mitt Romney. The political ads highlight Romney’s role in the 1996 search for Gay’s missing daughter.