Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Carousel Capital adds another $400 million to invest in Southeast firms

Carousel Capital completed the fundraising for a $400 million fund, pushing its total to more than $1.2 billion since Erskine Bowles and Nelson Schwab started the business 20 years ago. It took the Charlotte-based private equity group just more than three months to raise its fifth fund, which eclipses its last round of about $265 million, raised in 2013. The fund exceeded its initial target of $300 million.

Charles S. Grigg
Charles Grigg
Bill Hobbs
Bill Hobbs
Jason Schmidly
Jason Schmidly

Charles Grigg, Bill Hobbs and Jason Schmidly now run the business; Bowles left day-to-day operations in 1998, while Schwab is now a senior adviser.

Carousel, which focuses exclusively on the Southeast, is among the largest private-equity groups in North Carolina. The only groups that have raised more money over the last 20 years are Ridgemont Equity Partners and Pamlico Capital, Charlotte-based firms that are outgrowths of the private investment arms of Bank of America and Wachovia, respectively, and Raleigh-based Cherokee Partners. The latter company specializes in environmental-remediation projects.

Carousel declined to disclose its investors, which have included a mix of wealthy individuals, insurers, endowments and foundations. The state of North Carolina pension fund is a longstanding investor.

Its 36 investments have included Fort Mill, S.C.-based Mergent, a business information provider; Greensboro-based Apex Analytix, which sells audit-related software; and Charlotte-based Driven Brands, operator of car-care franchises.

The company’s 2006 fund of $200 million ranked among the top 10% of private-equity funds in performance, according to a 2013 report. The company didn’t disclose the returns of its 2013 fund, which has reached its cap in investments.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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