Audax closes $700m private equity fund

Six years after raising its debut fund, the private equity and mezzanine debt investor has raised $700m for its second middle-market buyout vehicle.

New York and Boston-based investment firm Audax Group has completed fundraising for its second private equity fund, closing on $700 million (€564 million).

Audax Private Equity Fund II, which will invest in middle market leveraged buyouts, exceeded its initial target of $600 million, as well as Audax’s first private equity fund, which closed on $500 million in 1999.

Follow-on commitments to the current fund were provided by Harvard Management Company, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, Commonfund Capital and FLAG Capital according to a statement. New limited partners included GIC, University of Virginia, The Rockefeller Foundation and State Retirement and Pension System of Maryland.

In late August, Audax Private Equity completed its tenth acquisition of 2005, the buyout of Victor Oolitic Stone Company, a Bloomington, Indiana supplier of limestone to the construction industry. Earlier that month, the firm, along with Oaktree Capital Management and Carl Marks Strategic Investments, sold cryogenic component manufacturer Chart Industries to buyout firm First Reserve for approximately $460 million.

Audax’s first private equity fund currently has 15 portfolio companies remaining, including Herald Media Holdings, the publisher of The Boston Herald, and TMP Directional Marketing, the former yellow pages business of job search engine Monster Worldwide.

Founded by former Bain Capital principals Geoffrey Rehnert and Marc Wolpow in 1999, Audax manages two private equity funds out of its Boston office, as well as a mezzanine debt fund based in New York. Audax Mezzanine Fund I, which closed on $440 million in 2001, will soon be followed by a second mezzanine vehicle, which is expected to begin fundraising later this fall.