The men behind Phillips-Van Heusen and Staples are raising a fund.

In the current market, even private equity ?rock stars? who have not worked together previously can raise funds. David Landau, Henry Nasella and Bruce Klatsky have worked together, and you can be sure they are rock stars, at least in the consumer and retail worlds.

Landau is the former head of the consumer and retail group at Apax Partners, the global private equity firm. His most high-profile deal was Apax's 2003 joint acquisition of Calvin Klein together with shirt giant Phillips-Van Heusen, in a deal valued at $700 million (€570 million). The other senior Apax partner on the Calvin Klein deal team was Nasella, who prior to joining Apax had a six-year term as president and COO of office supply chain Staples. Klatsky was with Phillips-Van Heusen for 33 years, the last 12 of them as the company's chairman and CEO.

Klatsky gets credit for building Phillips-Van Heusen into the world's largest producer of shirts. Over the years he led the acquisitions of, in addition to Calvin Klein, the IZOD, Gant, Bass, Arrow and Van Heusen brands, most of which were well known to the public but poorly managed as companies. Klatsky is clearly attracted to the business side of fashion, not the glamour side ? only Calvin Klein markets itself through fashion shows. Phillips-Van Heusen, in stark contrast to haut couture, is a profit machine.

Klatsky left the corporation last year but announced only an interest in spending more time with the non-profit group, Human Rights Watch. Still, his brush with private equity seems to have enticed him into fund management.

Limited partners increasingly look for sector expertise, and it seems hard to beat the retail experience of this team. Landau, Nasella and Klatsky have now formed LNK Partners, a White Plains, New York-based private equity firm that will target management teams in the consumer and retail sectors. The firm is agnostic as to the type of investment it makes ? PIPE, minority, majority ? so long as the management team is verifiably strong.

LNK is currently raising a fund with a target of $400 million, according to SEC filings. Credit Suisse is acting as placement agent. L, N and K will likely have to spend only a brief time on the road show runway before getting down to business.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (Ohio BWC) created some drama when it issued a report in January, disclosing the returns of its private equity investments. A month prior, Ohio BWC unveiled plans to pull the cover off its entire programme, saying that due to an open-records request from The Columbus Dispatch, it would make bare its full private equity programme, complete with portfolio company data. The decision not to include that level of information, a touchy subject for GPs, was the result of pressure from GPs and uncertainty as to whether such disclosure would violate trade secrets rules. The matter has been referred to a local court.

InterMedia Advisors held an interim close on its debut fund, according to an SEC filing, corralling $241 million of a targeted $1.5 billion for InterMedia Partners VII. Leo Hindery Jr. announced the launch of the New York-based InterMedia Advisors in 2005, partnering with Alpine Capital veteran Peter Kern. Hindery has held a number of top posts in media and communications, including stints at AT&T, Global Crossing and The YES Network. Previous vehicles under the InterMedia Partners banner, which go back as far as 1988, were used by Hindery specifically to pursue rollups in the cable industry. Fund VII, however, will pursue a diversified media strategy.

The National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Venture Economics released a report last month, confirming what most GPs already knew ? 2005 was a record year in fundraising. The NVCA recorded a total of 159 US-domiciled buyout or mezzanine funds that raised capital last year, reaching a total of $86 billion (€70 billion). That number is larger than the two previous years combined, and is a 67 percent jump over the 2004 figure provided by the NVCA. The substantial increase was fuelled largely by the mega vehicles that raised capital last year. Venture capital fundraising surpassed $25 billion, over 2004's $17 billion.

Toronto's EdgeStone Capital held a first close on roughly C$508 million (US$436 million) for its third fund, EdgeStone Capital Equity Fund III, a vehicle that is seeking C$600 million, according to documents filed with the SEC. The General Electric Pension Trust and The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development are two LPs that have backed the new fund. EdgeStone, formerly known as NB Capital, was originally launched in 1999 as an affiliate of National Bank Financial. The firm spun out in 2002, changing its name to EdgeStone, with National Bank and Canada Pension Plan serving as significant investors.

Vestar Capital Partners made quick work of its fifth fund, holding a final close at $3.7 billion late December. The fund was launched in April of last year, and held a first closing of $3 billion just four months later. Investors in the vehicle include The Los Angeles County Employees' Retirement Association, The Washington State Investment Board, The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System, The Oregon State Treasury and Ireland's National Pension Reserve Fund, among others. Vestar maintains headquarters in New York and additional offices in Denver, Boston, Paris and Milan.