NORTH AMERICA NEWS CONTINUED<br/>FUNDS AND BUYSIDE 2008-11-01 Staff Writer Paladin Capital Group has closed its third <bold>homeland-security</bold> fund on $340 million. The Washington DC firm is led by former CIA head James Woolsey, as well as a former director of the US National Security

Paladin Capital Group has closed its third homeland-security fund on $340 million. The Washington DC firm is led by former CIA head James Woolsey, as well as a former director of the US National Security Agency and a former assistant secretary of the Navy.

Austin Ventures has completed fundraising on its tenth venture capital fund, rounding up a total of $900 million. The fund includes a $300 million pool to be drawn from in the event the firm pursues larger transactions. Austin partners called it “fee-efficient for our limited partners”.

A Boston firm is seeking to raise “in excess of $100 million”for an agricultural technology and cleantech fund. Peak Ridge Capital will target primarily Midwest investments from a base in Wisconsin. The firm also manages private equity, hedge funds and real estate.

US governmental agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has approved $505 million in commitments to clean energy private equity funds. The funds are managed by Middle East & Asia Capital Partners, GEF Management, FE Global Clean Energy and US Renewables Group. OPIC committed an additional $200 million to two undisclosed funds.

One of the biggest backers of private equity funds, the Washington State Investment Board, has unveiled $600 million in new commitments to a group of non-US private equity managers including London-based Charterhouse Capital Partners, Frankfurt-based Triton and China's Fountain Vest.

Harvard University and the Regents of the University of California were among key limited partners to Claremont Creek Ventures, which claims to target investments at an earlier stage than do most other firms. The Oakland, California firm raised $175 million for its second fund.

The Virginia Retirement System has committed $215 million across three private equity funds, including funds managed by Great Hill Partners, Austin Ventures and Oaktree Capital Management. The pension last year decided to up its private equity allocation to 10 percent from 7 percent.

The endowment of Pennsylvania's Lehigh University has more than doubled its private equity allocation to 15 percent from 6 percent for “diversification purposes”, a spokesperson told sister website Private Equity Online. The endowment has $1.1 billion in assets.

For the first time, the powerful Oregon Investment Council has committed capital to a fund offered by The Carlyle Group. The $57 billion pension committed $100 million to Rivers tone/Carlyle Renewable & Alternative Energy Fund II, with a $5 billion hard cap. Oregon was among the earliest backers of veteran buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

An annual report revealed that the $153 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund has exceeded its target private equity allocation of 8 percent. At 31 March the pension's private equity value was 8.3 percent of the overall programme, another example of the so-called denominator effect.

Pushing past its target allocation, the Illinois State Universities Retirement System has agreed to commit $100 million to a new fund of funds f rom Adams Street Partners. Pension executive Dan Slack told the falling public market has inflated the private equity holdings within the $14.6 billion programme. “We think it's appropriate to make this commitment,”Slack said.

Fortress Investment Group has raised $1.9 billion toward a $2.5 billion-targeted “credit sensitive”fund, the publicly listed firm disclosed. In a related announcement, the firm said it would not pay a third-quarter dividend in order to retain capital for investment opportunities.

Goldman Sachs has closed a debut $10.5 billion senior debt fund that will provide financing for buyouts and other acquisitions. The fund, called GS Loan Partners, will be led by Thomas Connolly. It is the 15th fund to be formed within the firm's Principal Investment Area, which also includes private equity, real estate and mezzanine.

Dallas buyout firm Brazos Private Equity Partners has quickly raised $700 million for its third fund, with the help of the Credit Suisse placement agency. The firm raised $400 million in 2005. The main focus of the new fund will be on family owned businesses in the Southwestern US.

Trivest Partners, headquartered in Miami, has closed its fourth buyout fund on $325 million. In business since 1981, the firm has kept its fund sizes in check. Fund III closed on $316 million. “The size of the businesses we continue to fund are such that this is an adequate fund,” partner Chop Vandenberg said.

Randall Mullan has joined the California Public Employees' Retirement System as a senior portfolio manager for infrastructure. He was previously with the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. A source at the pension said CalPERS would not make any infrastructure commitments for the remainder of the year.

Harvard University and Stanford University, two prominent backers of private equity funds, have received accolades from an environmental group for the sustainability of their respective investment programmes. gave the two schools “A-”ratings – the highest ever achieved.

Chicago-based Twin Bridge Capital Partners has doubled its commitments under management with a new $500 million separate account from an unnamed insurance company. Twin Bridge, which commits capital to and manages co-investments alongside US mid-market buyout firms, is now seeking more clients.