Ohio F-o-F Sees Opportunity In Distress

Cincinnati-based Fort Washington Capital Partners is looking for a few good funds, especially if they’re small.

Having gathered about $170 million in a very tough fundraising market, the fund-of-funds manager is particularly interested in vehicles that can take advantage of distress in the market, such as turnarounds, restructurings and secondaries, according to Christopher Baucom, managing director, private equity, for Fort Washington.

The firm had originally targeted $250 million for Fort Washington Private Equity Investors VI LP, but it held a final closing in May on roughly $170 million, without using a placement agent. The firm’s predecessor fund closed in 2006 with $135 million. Backers for the latest fund are a mix of public plans, insurance companies, endowments and foundations.

Fort Washington Capital commits to funds of all sizes, going as small as $200 million and as high as $6 billion, but it tends to favor smaller vehicles. The firm usually commits $5 million to $10 million to each of the roughly 25 vehicles housed in its funds of funds. Fund VI will likely invest between 20 percent to 30 percent of its capital in funds with an international focus that are managed by either U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based firms.

The vehicle is making pledges across the 2008-2010 vintage years and has committed to about 18 firms so far, including ABRY Partners, which concentrates on the media, communications and information services sectors; financial services and health care-focused Flexpoint Ford; distressed investor HIG Bayside; Great Hill Equity Partners, which invests in the business services, consumer services, media, communications and software industries; and Shasta Ventures, which invests in early-stage technology-based and technology-enabled businesses.

Fort Washington Capital has also allocated “a material amount of capital” to take advantage of secondaries, said Baucom.

This article originally appeared Buyouts magazine, where Nancy Gordon is a Senior Editor.