GB Merchant closes debut fund

The Gordon Brothers affiliate will use the $320m fund to invest in the retail and consumer products sectors.

GB Merchant Partners, the private equity branch of Boston-based global advisory and financial services Gordon Brothers Group, has closed its debut fund, the firm said.

The $320 million (€247 million) fund, known as the 1903 Equity Fund, will invest in retail and consumer products companies in the middle market. The initial target for the fund was $250 million, Mark Schwartz, a managing principal of GB Merchant and the chief executive officer of Gordon Brothers, said in a statement.

The firm plans to make investments of between $15 million and $50 million, on the advice of former retail professionals at Gordon Brothers.

Berch Wood Partners acted as the firm’s placement agent in raising the fund.

GB Merchant has already backed 10 businesses, including the American novelty and gift stores Spencer Gifts and Canadian chocolate seller Laura Secord. The firm did three deals in the autumn of 2006. It partnered with Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherill & Co. to buy the American personalised gift chain Things Remembered from Cole National Group, a subsidiary of Luxottica Group, for $200 million.

It sold Party America, an American party supply store, to Berkshire Partners and Weston Presidio. In another deal, GP Merchant sold Amscan Holdings, another American company that sells party goods through its subsidiary Party City.