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Top universities back JH Partners

JH Partners closes its first institutional fund on $200m with commitments from the five largest university endowments in the US.

San Francisco private equity firm JH Partners announced today the closing of its first institutional fund with $200 million (€149 million) in total commitments.

In a departure from the firm’s previous equity capital, the current fund is composed primarily of capital commitments from institutions – Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale – America's five largest university endowments.

John Hansen, president of JH Partners, said that despite the addition of institutional capital, the firm’s “investment strategy will remain the same, with a focus on consumer products and services businesses in the lower end of the middle market.”  He added that the firm’s first institutional fund will allow the partners, all of whom have experience as industry operators, to focus on their core competencies.

The fund closing caps what has been a busy year for the private equity firm. Earlier this month, the firm announced its $60 million buyout of automotive supplier Bell Automotive less than four weeks after its acquisition of catalog retailer CHEF’s. In addition, two of the firm’s investments, Design Within Reach and PlanetOut, went public this year and in June, JH Partners along with Berkshire Partners recapitalised personal care company MD Beauty for a reported $225 million.

JH Partners was founded in 1986 and since then, the principals have invested approximately $190 million in more than 30 companies.  Mr. Hansen, whose previous experience includes ten years as a general manager in the consumer and retail sector, joined the firm in 1998.