NEW YORK- Yvonne Cliff and Alexa Willson - both Wall Street dealmakers - have formed a merchant bank and hope to raise $250 million from pension fund and other institutional investors for a private equity buy-out fund.
Their firm, Juno Partners L.L.C., New York, recently signed a placement agent that will help raise money for their new fund.
The firm can draw on recent pension fund experience. Ms. Cliff most recently developed the private equity unit of Chase Securities and was a general partner at Joseph Littlejohn & Levy, New York, and for its $225 million and $400 million buy-out funds, which raised money from such institutions as the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association, New York State Common Fund, Orange County (Calif.) Employees Retirement System, Virginia Retirement System, Wisconsin State Investment Board, California Public Employees' Retirement System, Rockefeller Foundation and Yale University.
Ms. Cliff expects to be talking with some of the same pension funds, foundations and endowments to invest in the Juno fund.
Juno contracted with Farrell Marsh & Co., Greenwich, Conn., as a placement agent to assist in marketing their buy-out fund to institutional investors, according to Ms. Cliff. Farrell Marsh also will assist in soliciting investors for direct investments.
Farrell Marsh was among major and emerging placement agents Juno considered. Among major ones involved in placing private equity funds are Beacon Hill Financial Corp., Cohasset, Mass.; Monument Group, Boston; and Benedetto Gartland & Greene Inc., Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette Securities Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co., all of New York.
Juno expects to launch its buy-out fund and begin raising money from investors this summer.
Juno is targeting the acquisitions of controlling stakes in businesses positioned to take advantage of demographic and cultural changes, including personal and family lifestyles, she said. In health care, she said such businesses include assisted-living complexes and physician management groups. Under the lifestyle theme, she said Juno would look at businesses involved in anti-aging products, fitness centers and restaurants franchising to women.
Both Ms. Willson and Ms. Cliff are co-owners of Mille Capital L.L.C., a New York investment banker specializing in private placements. Both of them said they will devote their full time to Juno and will bring in a management staff to run Mille.