Guardian Closes Debut Fund

Firm: Guardian Capital Partners

Fund: Guardian Capital Partners Fund I LP

Amount Raised: $50 million

Target: $80 million

Placement Agent: None

Guardian Capital Partners, a lower mid-market buyout shop based outside of Philadelphia, has closed its debut fund at $50 million.

Firm executives expect to make six to 10 control investments with the vehicle, typically writing equity checks of $5 million to $10 million for companies with enterprise values of $15 million to $40 million. Sectors of interest include manufacturing, consumer products, corporate carve-outs, medical products and family-owned businesses going through ownership transitions.

Guardian Capital on Jan. 5 closed its second deal, buying Sure Fit Inc., an Allentown, Pa.-based company that makes slip covers for furniture. Its first investment was in Corporate Call Center, a Blue Bell, Pa.-based provider of contact management, business development and other outsourced services to the insurance, health care and financial services industries, among others.

The Wayne, Pa.-based firm is led by Managing Partners Peter Haabestad, a former investment banker at Susquehanna Financial and one-time CEO of a medical company; Scott Evans, formerly of Cerberus Capital Management; and Hugh Kenworthy, the former president of Brynavon Group, a small-cap buyout shop.

The team thought it could collect as much as $100 million when it first launched its fundraising process back in 2007, as previously reported in Buyouts, though the executives are more than happy that they raised as much as they did in the worst fundraising environment in recent memory. “That was a different place and a different time,” Haabestad said of 2007. “To be able to raise $50 million in this environment with three emerging managers for a first-time fund, we’re thrilled.”

Investors in the fund include Argosy Capital, Bowside Capital, a New York-based fund of funds; Hauser Capital Partners, a Cincinnati-based fund of funds; and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. The firm did not employ a placement agent to help it raise the fund.