Freeman Spogli Finally Closes Fund VI, $265M Short Of Target

Freeman Spogli & Co. has finally closed its sixth fund with $735 million in commitments, Partner Bill Wardlaw told sister magazine Buyouts.

The fund fell well short of its $1 billion target. But, said Wardlaw, “given the fundraising environment, we were pleased with what we got.”

There must be some relief and exhaustion on the part of Wardlaw and his colleagues too.

Freeman Spogli originally set out to raise FS Equity Partners VI in the fall of 2008, according to LBO Wire, with a target of $1.75 billion. By March 2009 the firm had raised about $249 million from 11 investors less than two months after finally getting its first commitment, Buyouts reported. By that time the target had also been lowered to $1 billion.

Scores of buyout shops have had trouble raising capital since the financial collapse of 2008, as pensions, endowments and other limited partners reassessed their commitments to the asset class. Still, some funds have found a way to raise funds relatively easily. Boston-based ABRY Partners, for example, recently raised close to $3 billion for two separate funds in less than 90 days.

Freeman Spogli raised $1 billion for its previous fund in 2004. As of Sept. 30, 2010, that fund had generated a 1.70x investment multiple and a 15.5 percent net internal rate of return for backer California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Freeman Spogli targets deals in the retail, direct marketing, distribution and consumer products sectors. The firm has invested more than $2.8 billion in 45 companies since its founding in 1983, according to its website.

FS Equity Partners VI LP attracted pledges from the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, which committed $75 million, as well as from the Florida State Board of Administration and Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board.