Scoop: Clarion Capital to Seek up to $500M for Sophomore Fund

Clarion Capital Partners will seek to raise a fund nearly double the size of its debut fund, a $255 million vehicle raised in 2005, a source familiar with the fundraising process told peHub.

The New York-based private equity firm will pursue up to $500 million to launch its next fund over the next 12-24 months, the source said. Already, Clarion is in negotiations with existing LPs that are expected to re-engage with the LBO shop. (The source declined to reveal the names of any LPs.)

Clarion plans to use a placement agent to help with fundraising, but none has been selected. It used Far Hills Group to help raise its first fund.

The source described Clarion’s second fund as being a continuation of its existing strategy and said the firm will keep pursuing lower middle-market deals.

Founded in 1999, Clarion didn’t raise its first fund till about five years ago. The firm was launched by Wasserstein Perella & Co. veterans, including Mark Utay, who remains with the PE firm as a managing partner.

PeHUB was unable to find any performance data for Clarion’s first fund.

Clarion’s first fund has had at least one hit with Crowe Paradis Services Corp., an insurance services firm that has agreed to be purchased by Verisk Analytics for $90 million, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of this blog). The deal will produce a return of about 25x for Clarion, according to a source familiar with the transaction.

Besides Crowe Paradis, Clarion’s current investments include Cross MediaWorks Inc., an advertising services company; Great Northwest Insurance Co., which provides auto, home, and small business insurance; Hartmann, which makes luxury luggage and business accessories; Lenox, a maker of high-end dinnerware and collectibles; Reliant Healthcare Professionals Inc., a nurse staffing provider; and Strategic Outsourcing Inc., which provides human resources outsourcing to small and medium-sized businesses.

Last year, Cross MediaWorks accepted a $17 million investment from BIA Digital Partners II LP and Spring Capital Partners II.

Clarion’s website shows that its historical investments include All-Clad Holdings, which makes premium  cookware; Snapple, the beverage company; and Imax, the entertainment technology company best known for enabling movies to be shown on gigantic screens.