No red socks here, but private equity firm Fenway Partners does boast an eclectic portfolio of midsized companies valued between $100 million and $600 million in the consumer products and transportation sectors. Its holdings include stakes in Easton-Bell Sports (maker of official NFL helmets), 1-800 CONTACTS, scholastic memorabilia maker Amercan Achievement, and charter bus operator Coach America. Upon making its investment in a company, Fenway Partners provides management and strategy advice to boost performance. Despite its name, the company has offices in New York and Los Angeles, but not in Boston, home of baseball's Fenway Park.
Founded in 1994 by managing directors Peter Lamm and Richard Dresdale, Fenway Partners has more than $2 billion in capital under management on behalf of institutional investors such as retirement funds, insurance companies, and investment partnerships. The company usually invests $50 million to $70 million per transaction and holds onto its investments for four to six years.
Fenway Partners closed its third investment fund, worth more than $700 million, in 2007. Not long after, the company entered the refrigerated shipping and warehousing sector with its purchases of Refrigerated Holdings and Preferred Freezer Services in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Also in 2008, Fenway Partners arranged to sell American Achievement to Herff Jones, but the deal was mutually terminated later that year after it failed to receive necessary regulatory approval.
Fenway Partners has been relatively quiet since then as it sat out the recession, but is seeking out investments in e-commerce and direct-to-consumer retailing. In 2010 the company acquired an interest in SunTek, which makes solar control window films with automotive and architectural applications. Fenway Partners sold its interest in trucking concern Panther Expedited Services to Arkansas Best in 2012.
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