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Charlotte private-equity firm raises $650M fund

Pamlico Capital, a Charlotte private-equity firm spun off from Wells Fargo in 2010, has raised a $650 million investment fund, its first as an independent firm.

Pamlico, which had initially sought to raise $500 million, said Tuesday that the investors in the fund include an array of pension funds, endowments and other institutions, including GE Pension Trust, John Hancock Financial Services and TIAA-CREF. The firm’s partners are also investors.

The firm has been raising the fund since July of 2012 during a time when investment dollars are hard to come by, Pamlico managing partner Scott Perper said in an interview.

“In this fundraising environment, it went faster than we expected, particularly for our first fund as an independent firm,” he said.

Wells Fargo did not contribute to the latest fund, but the San Francisco-based bank is still a major investor in the firm’s previous two funds, Perper said.

Pamlico said it seeks to invest in midsize companies in the business and technology services, communications and health care sectors in North America. It makes investments of $25 million to $75 million in companies with values of between $50 million and $250 million.

Pamlico got its start in 1988 as the private equity arm of Charlotte-based First Union, which later became Wachovia and then Wells Fargo. The firm first raised outside capital in 2007 and became fully independent under the Pamlico name in 2010. It manages $2.6 billion in assets.

In recent years, large banks have been shedding private equity businesses in order to meet new regulations and to streamline operations.

Charlotte-based Ridgemont Equity Partners, which spun off from Bank of America in 2010, in April said it had received total commitments of $735 million for its first fund.

Private equity firms pool money from investors to take stakes in or to buy companies. The firms then look to make a return by improving operations and cutting costs before eventually selling the companies again or taking them public.

Pamlico’s portfolio of investments ranges from a drilling rig company to an operator of radio stations to a developer of surgery centers. The firm isn’t allowed to release its returns, Perper said.

UBS Securities LLC acted as placement agent for Pamlico. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson provided legal advice.

Rothacker: 704-358-5170; Twitter: @rickrothacker
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