Constellation shoots for up to $250M

New York-based Constellation Ventures is back in market with a third fund, and already has scored at least $90 million in commitments from GKM, New York Common Retirement Fund and longtime backer Bear Stearns (which invested $50 million).

The target of fund III is between $200 million and $250 million. The firm raised about $350 million for its second fund in 2000. Constellation focuses on early and mid-stage media and communications companies with investments of $5 million to $30 million.

Less than a year ago, the firm seemed to be on the ropes due to the departures of Managing Directors Dennis Miller (who went to Spark Capital) and Virginia Turezyn (who went to American Capital Strategies). Cliff Friedman remained as the only senior investor on staff.

However, such skepticism has since been put aside as sources say that liquidity events, such as the sale of shares of Savvis Inc. (Nasdaq: SVVS) likely will help the firm return between 1.5x and 2x its capital to its limited partners. That would be an outstanding performance for a 2000-vintage fund. —Dan Primack