Sun Capital to cut about 10% of its workforce

The Florida-based firm joins several other high-profile private equity firms that have cut back on staff to control costs amid recession.

Sun Capital Partners will cut 23 employees from its 200-person staff and plans to consolidate its focus on its core practice of turning around distressed companies.

“This staff reduction leaves our firm with all the resources needed to continue to focus on the things we do best – investing in turnarounds, underperforming businesses and special situations,” Sun Capital said in a statement.

Even with the staff reductions, Sun has a larger staff than it did at the beginning of 2008, the firm said.

A spokesperson for Sun Capital declined to comment. The firm did not disclose specifically which positions would be cut. Sun Capital's having raised $8 billion in the past five years ranks it 38th on the PEI 50, a proprietary listing of the largest private equity firms in the world.

Sun’s portfolio company Mervyns filed for bankruptcy in July 2008 and decided to liquidate in October after failing to return to profitability in Chapter 11. Sun has been named in a lawsuit along with Cerberus Capital Management and Lubert-Adler Real Estate by Mervyns, which alleges that the firms “siphon[ed]” around $1 billion in real estate assets from the company to leverage its $1.2 billion buyout, eventually forcing the company into bankruptcy.

The Boca Raton-based firm is investing from its $6 billion fifth fund, which closed in April 2007. The firm’s previous fund closed on $1.5 billion in 2005.

Sun joins several other firms that have cut back on staff in recent months. The Blackstone Group is cutting 70 jobs, or 5 percent of its 1,400-member workforce. The Carlyle Group terminated 100 workers out of 1,000, primarily in the US, targeting back office-type positions and some deal workers. Carlyle also said it would close its Silicon Valley office, which had been opened for less than a year.

Bahrain-based Investcorp is cutting 20 percent of its staff to drive down costs, affecting its offices in Bahrain, London and New York. The cuts are across various business lines including private equity, real estate, hedge funds and technology. American Capital, and affiliate European Capital, are eliminating 110 jobs and closing two offices, a 19 percent reduction in the listed firm’s US and European workforces.

UK-headquarterd 3i also said it would cut about 15 percent of its 600-member staff, while Cognetas said it would cut 12 percent of its workforce.