Private equity firm Boathouse Capital LP has recently purchased two companies and loaned money to a third, managing partner Kenneth Jones (pictured) tells Mergers & Acquisitions. The Wayne, Pa. firm, which backs lower middle-market companies, is raising a second fund. The moves offer more proof that the lower middle market is picking up steam

*On July 2, Boathouse invested capital alongside management into OBBCO Safety & Supply Inc., a Norfolk, Va. distributor of hard hats and protective gloves. McCarter & English LLP provided legal advice and conducted due diligence on the deal. Terms were undisclosed.

*On June 28, Boathouse loaned $5 million in capital to Convene LLC, a New York company that manages conference venues. New York private equity firm Tamarix Capital also contributed $5 million on the deal.

*On June 21, Boathouse backed management in buying Implan Group LLC, a Charlotte, N.C. company that provides data to municipalities and consults on the economic impact of projects, such as the construction of a new bridge. Terms remain undisclosed.

“They were all family-owned businesses,” Jones says of the portfolio additions.

For the investments, Boathouse tapped its first fund, a $120 million fund that closed in 2009. The firm expects to make three more investments out of the fund, according to Jones.

Boathouse is currently raising a second fund aimed at $150 million but which could “go as high as $225 million,” says Jones. “We’re hitting our marks,” he says. “All of our existing LPs are likely to invest in Fund II.” Boathouse expects to begin investing out of the second fund in the summer of 2014.

We caught up with Jones at the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors' (AM&AA) Summer Conference in Chicago. He is scheduled to speak on July 11 at a conference panel about corporate growth with Travis Haley of Main Street Corp., Daniel Hemli of Bracewell & Giuliani and Sol Lipshitz of Anchin Block & Anchin. For more on the conference, see “Mid-Market Pros Look to Big IP Deals for Guidance” and “AM&AA Brings Mid Market to Forefront in Windy City.” 

For more on the lower middle market, “Small Deal Sweet Spot,” the June cover story of Mergers & Acquisitions. 

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