Levine Leichtman Capital Partners

Specialty: Large firms

Capital under management: $102.5 million

Amount invested in 1996: $28 million

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners of Beverly Hills loves to scope out the California business world for promising entrepreneurs, and the type of industry is no object if the person is right.

Still, working with entreprenuers can be quite a challenge, said partner Arthur Levine. "I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who didn't think that his or her business was the best," he said.

Indeed, Levine and the firm's other five investment professionals sift through 250 to 300 business plans each year in their search for the five or six deals they end up funding.

The firm's Levine Leichtman Capital Partners LP Fund has only one outside investor the California Public Employees Retirement System. CalPERS has contributed $100 million to the fund, which contains an additional $2.5 million from Levine Leichtman.

The firm focuses on late-stage funding for companies with $10 million to $350 million in annual revenues most of those in California businesses.

One of the company's recent investments was real estate brokerage Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., which Levine Leichtman liked for its strong management team of Jon Douglas, Lou Piatt, George Rathman and Rick Merrill.

"We were able to take these strong guys and put money behind them," he said.

Most of Levine Leichtman's current fund is already invested, and the process of raising a second "substantially larger" fund is now underway, Levine said.

Douglas Young

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