Atlanta Shop Raises $350M For Fund II

MSouth Equity Partners, a buyout firm based in Atlanta that is raising its sophomore fund, has surged past the amount it raised for its debut fund in 2009.

The firm has raised almost $353 million for its latest fund, Buyouts reported yesterday, citing a Feb. 10 regulatory filing. It’s unclear how much in total MSouth is trying to raise.

In early 2009, the firm closed its debut fund at $265 million, well short of a $300 million target that had become too challenging as the credit markets tightened up in 2008, as Buyouts previously reported.

UBS Securities LLC is helping the firm raise the fund, MSouth Equity Partners II LP, according to the filing. The minimum investment MSouth is accepting for the fund is $5 million.

MSouth Equity targets equity investments of around $10 million to $40 million in lower mid-market companies in the distribution, manufacturing and business service industries that are typically valued at $25 million to $125 million.

According to its Web site, MSouth holds 11 companies, including Coastal Sunbelt Inc., a Savage, Md.-based wholesale distributor of produce; Community & Southern Bank, a Carrolton, Ga.-based community bank; and GaiaTech Inc.—the firm’s first acquisition, from July 2007—a Chicago-based provider of environmental risk management and engineering services. MSouth’s most recent deal, according to Capital IQ, came in October when it agreed to buy Education Networks of America Inc., a Nashville, Tenn.-based company that manages network and communication services for school systems.

The firm was formed in 2007 by former partners at Cravey, Green & Whalen, another Atlanta-based buyout firm that was founded in 1984. MSouth’s six investment professionals are led by co-founders Mark Feidler, whose past positions included president and COO of BellSouth Corp. until its merger with AT&T in 2006; Michael Long, a former CEO of a 148-unit Pizza Hut franchisee before joining Cravey, Green & Whalen in 1998; and Bart McLean, who joined Cravey, Green & Whalen in 1992 after working as a principal with St. Louis-based Allsop Venture Partners.

Wanda Morgan, MSouth’s CFO, was not immediately available for comment.

Bernard Vaughan is a senior editor at Buyouts Magazine. Follow his tweets @BVaughanReuters. Follow Buyouts tweets @Buyouts.