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Leonard Green raising $5 billion

Leonard Green & Partners is raising $5 billion for its sixth private equity fund, according to a regulatory filing.

The Los Angeles-based firm invests in a variety of industry sectors, but is best known a retail portfolio that currently includes Sports Authority, Niemen Marcus and Whole Foods (WFM). Soon it plans to add BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ), via a $2.8 billion take-private acquisition in partnership with CVC Capital Partners.

The firm’s SEC filing does not indicate that it has closed on any money, but certain public pension systems have already approved commitments. This includes $300 million from the Washington State Investment Board and up to $50 million from the Ohio School Employees Retirement System. According to an Ohio SERS document:

GEI VI will primarily make control investments in established, middle market companies across a broad range of industries, with a preference foe companies in the retail, distribution, healthcare, aerospace, consumer, and business services sectors.

Through the end of March, Leonard Green had called just over 70% of its fifth private equity fund, a $5.3 billion vehicle that held a final close in 2007. At the time, CalPERS reports that Fund V had a 20.2% IRR (a figure likely to be lower in the Q3 marks, due to public market valuation declines). Its predecessor, a $1.85 billion fund from 2003, had a 9.9% IRR.

Leonard Green also raised a credit fund in 2007, to take advantage of debt opportunities. That vehicle is fully-called with a 7.8% IRR.

The regulatory filing does not reflect any changes in Leonard Green’s partnership structure.

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