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M/C Partners is out fundraising for seventh fund

M/C Partners, which once called itself a venture capital firm before switching to labeling itself private equity, has so far raised $176 million for its seventh fund, according to a regulatory filing.

It’s unclear when the PE firm, which has offices in Boston and San Francisco, began marketing for Fund VII or what exactly is the pool’s target. One source said M/C Partners began fundraising in 2011.

M/C Partners is believed to be seeking the same amount as its prior pools. M/C Venture Partners VI LP collected $550 million with its sixth fund in 2006. The firm’s fifth fund also raised $550 million in 2000, while the fourth pool collected $230 million in 1999.

The fifth pool was generating an 8.36 percent IRR since inception as of March 31, according to CalSTRS. Data from the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board from 2011 indicates that M/C’s fund VI was producing an 8.82 percent IRR. Performance data for the fourth pool could not be found as of press time.

Launched in the mid-1980s, M/C focuses on companies in the communications, technology and media sectors. It typically invests from $5 million to $50 million of equity per deal, according to the firm’s website. The buyout shop is reportedly one of the few still making money from investing in telecommunications services.

In August, M/C closed its sale of Baja Broadband to Telephone and Data Systems. The deal was valued at $267.5 million. Berkshire Partners in December 2012 acquired Lightower Fiber for $2 billion. M/C Partners and Pamlico Capital were the sellers. M/C also sold Attenda, a provider of managed hosting services, to Darwin Private Equity in August 2011. That deal was valued at $83 million.

M/C — which stands for media and communications–apparently switched its focus to private equity from venture capital. The firm, as recently as 2011, was known as M/C Venture Partners and called itself a VC firm. In more recent press statements, however, M/C calls itself a private equity firm.

Officials for M/C declined comment.

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