Penn. shop closes debut fund

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

Limited partners 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 Co. The firm did not employ a placement agent to help it raise the fund.

The firms expects to make six to 10 control investments with the vehicle, typically writing equity checks of between $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 other portfolio company is 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.

Wayne, Pa.-based Guardian 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 firm.

The team anticipated raising as much as $100 million when it first lauchned the fund-raising process in 2007, as previously reported in Buyouts, a PE Week affiliate publication, though firm executives are more than happy that they raised as much as they did in the worst fund-raising 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.” —Bernard Vaughan