Nautic in two deals

Providence-based Nautic has inked two new platform acquisitions, buying auto-parts company Curtis Industries and IT publisher 101 Communications. The deals come ahead of an anticipated fund drive.

Nautic Partners has cinched two buyouts today, acquiring auto parts maker Curtis Industries Holdings in an undisclosed transaction, and reportedly working out a $75 million deal to take over 101 Communications, an IT-focused publisher currently owned by Frontenac Co.

The deal surge from the Providence, Rhode Island firm also comes on top of two other acquisitions announced last month. Nautic, in late February bought HIG Capital portfolio company Oasis Outsourcing, and also added Harris Healthtrends to its Axia Health Management platform.

The recent activity comes ahead of an anticipated fund drive for its sixth fund. Nautic raised $1.1 billion in 2000, and is expected to seek in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion for its follow-up fund, according to placement agent sources.

The firm has notched a couple of exits ahead of the fund drive, including the January sale of portfolio company CDRY Holdings, a carpet cleaning business acquired by The Home Depot. Nautic also exited its investment in Cincinnati restaurant chain Skyline Chili in November, posting a 3x return on equity through a sale to Prudential Capital Partners.

The buyout of Curtis Industries gives Nautic exposure to the auto parts market. Curtis manufactures cabs and enclosures for utility vehicles, compact trailers and golf carts. Nautic is buying the company in partnership with company CEO Fred Curtis, who will stay in that role following the deal’s close.

Meanwhile, Dow Jones reported that Nautic is also acquiring 101 Communications from Frontenac. The company is a publisher of IT-focused trade magazines and journals, and also runs conferences and provides training courseware. Frontenac has been an investor in the company since 1998.

Calls to Nautic were not immediately returned by press time.