Astra Capital launches debut fund with $250 mln target

  • Firm found by Carlyle Group alumnus and a telecom exec
  • Exec decided to launch firm during a climb on Mount Kilimanjaro
  • First portfolio-company deal closed over the summer


Astra Capital Management, the Washington firm founded by an ex-Carlyle Group managing director and an executive from the telecom sector, is on the fundraising trail for its debut fund with a $250 million target, a source said.

Focusing on communications and technology, Astra Capital already inked one deal. Last July, the firm closed its acquisition of Logix Communications, a fiber-based provider of voice and data services for businesses. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The firm financed the deal through equity contributions by investment funds affiliated with Astra; as well as Wafra Investment Advisory Group and DB Private Equity, a unit of Deutsche Asset Management, and other institutions, a statement said. Brightwood Capital provided financing for the deal.

Mark Johnson, managing partner of Astra, co-founded the firm after working at Carlyle from 2004 to 2014. There, he was managing director and global partner in the wireless and business- services sectors. Johnson also worked at Blackstone and Level 3 Communications, as well as J.H. Whitney. He decided to launch the firm while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, a Washington Post article posted on Astra’s website says.

Matthew Murphy, partner and co-founder of Astra, previously was president of Grande Communications, a telecom company. From 2002 to 2009, he was senior vice president for corporate development at Atlantic Broadband. He’s also been in management at Aprisma Management Technologies, Great Hill Partners and Media Communications Partners.

Astra seeks companies up to $500 million in size that are undergoing business transformations and can be scaled. The firm focuses on operational improvements, market-share capture, geographic expansion and appropriate use of leverage. Astra specializes in buyouts, carveouts, joint ventures, restructurings, growth capital and recapitalizations.

The firm did not immediately return an email.

The name Astra comes from the Latin phrase, “ad astra per aspera.” It means “to the stars through difficulties,” according to

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Stars are seen in the night sky over Kukenan (left) and Roraima mounts near the Tec Camp, near Venezuela’s border with Brazil on Jan. 14, 2015. Photo courtesy Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins