Harvard-affiliated group targets commodities

Sowood Capital Management, a fund manager founded by former managers of Harvard University’s endowment, has closed a $1.24 bn commodity private equity fund.

Sowood Capital Management today closed Sowood Commodity Partners Fund IV, a private investment fund with $1.24 billion (€1 billion) in commitments.

The fund will focus on direct investments in the commodity sector, including businesses and assets in energy, natural resources, soft commodities, grains, industrial assets, commodity infrastructure and metals.

The fund’s investment team is led by Stuart Porter and other senior professionals who have spent the majority of their careers focused on these commodity industries.

Sowood was formed in early 2004 when Jeffrey Larson, who oversaw foreign equities at Harvard Management Company, left Harvard to start the new firm. He brought Stuart Porter and several other senior managers with him. Harvard then entrusted Larson and his team with $700 million to manage.

The exodus was part of a larger trend. In the last seven years seven new private funds—including at least 12 top managers and dozens of their staff members—have spun out of the Harvard Management Company.

Sowood now has $3 billion under management and maintains offices in both Boston and Houston.