US Hispanic fund draws $520m

Palladium Equity Partners, which in recent years has rebranded itself to focus more on the growing US Hispanic market, has closed its third fund on $520m.

New York-based Palladium Equity Partners announced a final close on its third buyout fund, rounding up a total of $520 million (€424 million), having launched with a $500 million target.

The firm focuses on investing in companies that will “benefit from the explosive growth of the US Hispanic population,” according to a statement.

Palladium was founded in 1997 by professionals who left buyout firm Joseph Littlejohn & Levy, now JLL Partners. Of those professionals, Peter Joseph and Marcos Rodriquez remain. Rodriquez is managing partner of Palladium.

The new fund drew commitments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the New York City Retirement Systems, GE Pension Trust and Banco Bilbao Vicaya Argentaria (BBVA), one of Spain’s largest financial institutions.

In the statement, Rodriguez described the new fund as “an important milestone not only for our firm but also for the national Latino business community.”

Already the fund has made an investment in Texas-based Taco Bueno, a chain of Mexican restaurants.

The firm will also “pursue investment opportunities in the broader US economy.”

Palladium’s most recent fund closed in 2000 with $300 million. Fundraising efforts for the current vehicle were briefly halted in 2003 amid a tough fundraising environment. The fund was reignited by a $150 million commitment from BBVA.

The firm estimates that the purchasing power of the US Hispanic community will reach $1 trillion by 2010.

Other partners at the firm include David Perez, a former General Atlantic partner, and Alex Ventosa, a former member of the board of BBVA Securities in New York.