Lariat Partners LP, a lower middle-market private equity firm, has closed its debut fund with $118 million in capital commitments, during the best fundraising climate PE firms have seen in years. 

Denver-based Lariat plans to make five platform investments out of the fund. In March, the firm paid $100 million to acquire Newpark Environmental Services LLC, which provides drilling fluid products, through newly-formed company Ecoserv LLC. The firm has also acquired wheat seed distribution company Northern Seed LLC and Subsea Global Solutions LLC, which provides underwater repair services.

The fundraising process lasted nine months, says Jay Coughlon, managing director at Lariat Partners.

The firm was founded in January 2013 by Coughlon, and Kevin Mitchell, and targets lower middle-market businesses in the specialty agriculture, energy and environmental services sectors.

Coughlon was previously at Denver private equity firm KRG Capital Partners, and Mitchell was formerly with PE firm RedCloud Capital.

For more on first-time funds, see "Fledgling Funds Take Off." 


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