By HENRY MEIER Staff Reporter

Century City-based private equity firm Westhook Capital seems off to a strong start, closing an investment into landscaping company Metco Landscape Inc. just days after announcing its inaugural $140 million fund.

Terms of the Metco deal were not disclosed. Metco is based in Aurora, Colo. and serves a number of markets in the Centennial State.

Michael Hooks, Westhook founder and managing partner, said in a statement the firm was excited to help the landscaping company expand.

“This is a highly attractive industry and we look forward to supporting the company’s next phase of growth initiatives, including strategic acquisitions,” Hooks said. “The Metco team has demonstrated a deep understanding of the business, detailed knowledge of the market, and strong relationships with its customers and suppliers.”

The deal is the first announced by Westhook since the close of its first fund earlier this month. Hooks launched the firm after closing down his last outfit, Black Canyon Capital. The new outfit focuses on lower and middle market deals, and is targeting five or six platforms investments out of its first fund.

Westhook said in an earlier statement that he was happy to be finished fundraising and looking forward to putting Westhook’s capital to work.

“We are very pleased to complete this fundraise and to formally launch Westhook Capital,” he said. “Our team is aggressively pursuing investments that fit with our strategy of partnering with management teams to drive growth initiatives, build high quality companies, and create lasting and impactful value. ”

PacWest Finds El Dorado

Beverly Hills-based PacWest Bancorp

acquired El Dorado Savings Bank in a deal valued at $466.7 million, according to the companies.

The deal, which was announced Sept. 12, gives El Dorado stockholders $59.8 million in cash and $406.9 million in PacWest shares in exchange for control of the Placerville-headquartered bank.

El Dorado has $2.2 billion in assets and 35 branches, none of which are scheduled to be closed due to the acquisition, according to the banks.

“The acquisition of El Dorado Savings Bank opens an entirely new banking market for us with a high quality and prudently

managed 60 year old institution,” Matthew Wagner, PacWest Bancorp’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We are confident the proposed merger will create long-term value for both PacWest and El Dorado stockholders, provide a broader product array for customers and enhance our California community bank franchise.”

PacWest has 75 bank branches, and all but one – a North Carolina outlet – are in California. It is the parent company for Pacific Western Bank, which has $24 billion in assets.

Pot Outfit Gets Big Backer

Echo Park cannabis extract company F/ELD Extraction announced last week a Navy Capital-led $6 million investment into its business.

The company said in a release it will use the funds to expand its operations in California and move into other U.S. markets.

Navy Capital was part of one of the largest marijuana business exits when Aurora Cannabis Inc. purchased MedReleaf Corp. in May for $2.9 billion.

Have a deal tip? Henry Meier can be reached at hmeier@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8321.

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