Southlake Equity Back In The Fundraising Saddle

Southlake Equity Group has resumed raising its debut fund, after taking a hiatus to do a deal, beef up the team and find a placement agent. The Texas-based firm is again actively marketing a $250 million vehicle, Southlake Equity Group Fund I, with Neuberger Berman serving as placement agent.

The firm has held almost 100 meetings so far with potential backers, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. A second round of meetings will begin in September. Southlake Equity Group appears to be approaching about $100 million in commitments for a first close in the fall, and, if all goes well, said the source, a final closing could occur sometime in the first quarter of 2010.

Southlake Equity Group was formed in 2007 to buy lower-middle-market companies with enterprise values ranging from $20 million to $150 million in the South-Central region of the United States.

The firm had originally tried to raise a fund of $300 million to $400 million, had completed a PPM and had met with some funds of funds to discuss possible commitments. But after Tom Keene joined founding partners Todd Robichaux and Doug Wheat at the firm, several potential investors indicated they would like to see the three principals do a deal together. In June 2008, Southlake Equity Group completed its first acquisition with the purchase of PJ Trailers, a manufacturer and distributor of heavy-duty, open utility trailers.

In May 2009, David Spuria joined the firm as partner and general counsel. Spuria was formerly the general counsel of TPG Capital.

This story first appeared in Buyouts magazine (subscription required), where Nancy Gordon is a Senior Editor.