Milwaukee, WI, May 18, 2005 – A new, Milwaukee-based private equity fund, Lakeview Equity Partners, LLC, has raised $40 million in capital and is poised to invest in mid-sized businesses in the Midwest.
Lakeview Equity Partners, LLC plans to invest in equity and mezzanine debt transactions that support ownership as well as growth. "We want to support solid management teams and provide an opportunity for them to gain an equity stake in the companies they manage," said Kent Velde, managing partner of Lakeview Equity Partners. "We plan to back management teams that will run the operations while we provide capital and assistance in strategy execution. We will also provide capital support to businesses for growth and/or recapitalization.
"We believe that smaller middle market businesses present very attractive investment opportunities but are relatively underserved by existing equity funds," Velde continued. "We expect that during the next five years or so, many mid-market business owners will begin to look for liquidity or to sell their businesses. Private equity funds are a good source of capital to support these events."
The principals of Lakeview Equity have a broad base of experience as chief executives, investors and operators. With nearly 30 years of experience in banking and financial markets, Velde has been directly involved in middle market private equity and venture capital investments for the past six years. Prior to that, he was president of Bank One, Milwaukee. "I have partnered with four people whom I respect for their integrity, business judgment and experience," said Velde. "We are not looking to manage the companies we invest in, but my partners are capable of, and committed to, assisting our management partners in growing the companies."
In addition to Velde, the principals include Bill Abraham, a partner in Foley & Lardner LLP; Gordon Gunnlaugsson, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation (M&I); Ted Kellner, a founder and portfolio manager of Fiduciary Management Inc., an investment management firm; and William Read, who is chairman and owner of The WagAero Group, a manufacturer and distributor of aircraft parts.
All of the principals of Lakeview Equity have strong ties to the financial marketplace in Wisconsin. "This gives us access to additional sources of equity and debt financing," said Read. "We expect to partner with other financial investors in the recapitalization or buyout of middle market businesses."
Gunnlaugsson noted the new fund’s commitment to Wisconsin-based businesses. "We’ve raised a significant fund from large Wisconsin institutions as well as local families with substantial ties to the business community, many of whom own or manage middle market companies themselves and are excited to be part of this fund," he said. "Their commitment to this marketplace will help keep dynamic businesses here in Wisconsin."
For more information, contact Lakeview Equity Partners, LLC at (414-906-1702).