Charterhouse Surprises Itself with NewPath Sale

Charterhouse Group today inked its second sale of 2010, with an agreement to sell NewPath Networks Inc. to Crown Castle International in a $115 million deal. The move represents a quick turnaround for Charterhouse which originally invested $20 million just 15 months ago (it later put in more money).

Charterhouse wasn’t planning to sell NewPath, which places antennas in areas where it’s physically unable to put a conventional tower, says David Hoffman, a Charterhouse managing director. This spring, Charterhouse went out to do a capital raise for NewPath but instead received multiple offers from strategics. “We decided to sell the business, which we had not expected,” he says.

Earlier this year, Charterhouse sold Amerifit Brands Inc., a consumer health and wellness firm, to Martek Biosciences Corp. in a deal valued at $200 million. It had bought Amerifit for roughly $75 million in 2005. The PE firm is expected to announce more exits later this year.

Most of Charterhouse Equity Partners IV is invested, Hoffman says. Fund IV has made 12 platform investments and roughly 40 add on deals. Two companies were sold in 2007 as well as the two deals this year (Amerifit and NewPath). “We are continuing to do add-on acquisitions,” Hoffman says.

Citi Global Markets advised Charterhouse on the sale. Other NewPath shareholders include Meritage Funds and NewPath chairman Bill Marraccini — both of whom also are selling to Crown Castle.