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February 28, 2005

North America Mid-Market Firm of the Year

  1. New Mountain Capital
  2. Riverside Company
  3. Friedman Fleischer & Lowe

According to CalPERS public filings, New Mountain Capital’s first $770 million fund, raised in 2000, boasts an annual compound IRR of 28.2 percent through June 30, 2004. Small wonder, then, that fundraising for the middle-market firm’s second fund, closed in December, had to be capped at $1.55 billion, though the fund could have raised up to three times that amount, according to placement agent CSFB. The five-year old New Mountain is led by ex-Forstmann Little partner Steven Klinsky. It often invests in companies without the inclusion of debt. Thus far, New Mountain hasn’t had a loser in its portfolio – its first major score was an almost 5x return on a $115 million investment in Strayer Education. The firm has also doubled its value in National Medical Health Card Systems, in which it sunk $80 million back in March. Will New Mountain’s boon continue through 2005? Many reckon that this is one mountain whose peak has yet to be seen.