Searchlight Closer To Goal On Debut Media Fund

Searchlight Capital Partners, a media-focused private equity firm working to launch its debut fund, has come closer to reaching its initial goal of raising $1 billion, according to people familiar with the fund.

In addition, federal filings reveal that the firm has so far raised several hundred million dollars, although those figures could include some overlap. The $1 billion goal is considered large for a first-time fund, although the firm’s three founders are by no means new to the private equity space.

The three founders of Searchlight have overseen deals in media and other industries at two top private equity firms as well as one of Canada’s leading pension funds. Before co-founding Searchlight, Eric Zinterhofer helped lead media and telecommunications investing at Apollo Global Management, where he was a partner. He remains the chairman of Charter Communications, the St. Louis, Missouri-based cable television giant.

Oliver Haarmann, a former partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, previously oversaw that firm’s communications and media industry efforts. A third co-founder, Erol Uzumeri, was the head of private equity investments for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in Toronto.

Although Searchlight is said to focus on media, the firm’s Web site seems eager to broaden the firm’s scope beyond media, seeking deals in other industries like financial services, industrial goods and consumer services.