Jack and JLL went up the hill, to fetch a pail of ... portfolio companies? JLL Partners (formerly Joseph, Littlejohn & Levy) is anything but child's play. The private equity firm seeks controlling stakes in middle-market companies in a range of industries, including broadcasting, chemicals, consumer products, financial services, health care, transportation, and manufacturing. An active investor, it works with its portfolio companies' management to help develop strategy, foment growth, and make acquisitions. JLL Partners diversified beyond private equity in 2010 when it formed alternative asset manager JLL Capital Partners, which invests in distressed debt of middle-market firms.
Since its founding in 1988, JLL Partners has managed private equity funds totaling some $4 billion in committed capital from institutional investors such as corporations, pension funds, university endowments, and financial institutions. Seeking out targets that have experienced management and strong fundamentals or in out-of-favor industries, the company specializes in leveraged buyouts, restructurings, and turnaround situations. It currently has stakes in more than a dozen firms. Holdings include ACE Cash Express, Builders FirstSource, IASIS Healthcare Corporation, and PGT. Another portfolio company, NetSpend, went public via a 2010 IPO.
In 2011 JLL Partners sold C.H.I. Overhead Doors to Friedman, Fleischer & Lowe and sold PharmaNet Development Group to inVentiv Health, an affiliate of Thomas H. Lee Partners. It booked gains on both divestitures. Later that year the company arranged to buy American Dental Partners, a provider of dental practice management services, for nearly $320 million.
In 2009 JLL Partners acquired a majority stake in Canada-based pharmaceutical firm Patheon, in which it already had a minority interest, as part of a contentious effort to buy the company outright. Patheon's board of directors previously decried the purchase price as too low, and JLL faced a competing bid from Swiss pharmaceutical firm Lonza. – less