Willis Stein & Partners
|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Products||Private equity funds, Leveraged buyouts|
|Total assets||$3.0 billion|
The firm is headquartered in Chicago and was founded in 1995.
Prior to founding the firm John Willis and Avy Stein were executives of Continental Illinois Venture Corp. (CIVC), the private equity arm of Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company. When Continental Illinois was acquired in 1994 by Bank of America, John Willis and Avy Stein, who had run the group at Continental Illinois left to form Willis Stein & Partners. They were quickly able to raise over $300 million of investor commitments.
Subsequently, the remaining CIVC team would form a semi-independent private equity firm, CIVC Partners with backing from Bank of America. CIVC is today a mid-sized middle-market private equity firm based in Chicago. CIVC announced in 2007 it was seeking to raise its first private equity fund with primarily third-party capital.
Since its inception in 1995, Willis Stein has raised three private equity funds with nearly $3.0 billion of investor commitments. As of 2007, the firm had announced the launch of a fourth fund. Due to mixed results in its 2000 vintage fund, Willis Stein waited nearly eight years before launching a new fund and when it did so the firm significantly decreased its target fund size relative to its last fund.
- Willis Stein & Partners (1995) - $343 million
- Willis Stein & Partners II (1998) - $840 million
- Willis Stein & Partners III (2000) - $1.8 billion
- Willis Stein & Partners IV (Announced) - $1.0 billion target
- Willis Stein & Partners (company website)
- Willis Stein & Partners Agrees to Acquire Ziff-Davis Publishing for $780 Million - Company Business and Marketing
- Willis Stein & Partners Exits National Veterinary Associates.
- "Former Hearst Executive Wins Bidding for Petersen Publishing." New York Times, August 16, 1996
- "Chairman of Ziff Davis Media Is Replaced." New York Times, August 14, 2001