Second Sentinel Fund Wraps on $126M –

NEW YORK – Sentinel Capital Partners held a final close on its second private equity fund in June, rounding up a total of $126 million.

The firm launched Sentinel Capital Partners II, L.P. in June 1998 with a $125 million target, and Sentinel’s debut fund closed in 1996 on $50 million.

New limited partners in the latest fund include Kemper Insurance Co., Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., The Compass Group International, Prudential Insurance Co., Heller Financial, HSBC Securities and funds-of-funds managed by Bear, Stearns & Co. and Chase Manhattan Corp.

The fund will make growth investments, but Sentinel’s investment strategy is “slanted to the buyout side,” according to David Lobel, a managing partner and co-founder of the firm. Sentinel invests in the business-to-business service sector and in consumer-driven businesses, but generally avoids heavy industry and the technology sector.

Sentinel’s most recent investment was the $102.5 million recapitalization of Roma Restaurant Holdings, the owner of the Tony Roma’s chain of rib restaurants. Mr. Lobel said Sentinel has agreements inked for three investments from the new fund, but declined to give further details.

Mr. Lobel founded Sentinel in 1994 with John McCormack, a partner at the firm. Prior to founding the firm, the two worked together as investment professionals at First Century Partners, the venture capital affiliate of Salomon Smith Barney.

Sentinel in June exited an investment in Met Merchandising Concepts through its sale to furniture company Leggett & Platt. Sentinal bought Met Merchandising, a maker of merchandising products, only 18 months ago. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.