Riverstone Approaches $3 Billion in Energy Fund

Riverstone Holdings LLC, the firm raising money without joint-venture partner Carlyle Group (CG) for the first time, plans to close on about half of its $6 billion energy fund by March, said two people briefed on the matter.

Riverstone Global Energy & Power Fund V LP is seeking the same amount that its prior investment fund gathered in 2009, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the fund is private.

The private equity firm, based in New York, started talking to investors about the fund in the second half of last year. An outside spokesman for Riverstone declined to comment.

Riverstone and Carlyle’s joint venture, entered into in 2000, allowed either firm the option of ending the partnership at the start of each fundraising cycle. Riverstone took the option when it started marketing the fifth fund last year. The Riverstone team has been signaling its move toward independence for several years, with its name appearing before Carlyle’s for the first time in the fourth fund’s title in 2007.

Christopher Ullman, a spokesman for Carlyle, declined to comment on the new fund.

The joint venture was involved in a 2009 investigation of so-called pay-to-play corruption at the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Riverstone paid $30 million and Washington-based Carlyle $20 million to resolve their involvement in the probe. David Leuschen, Riverstone’s co-founder who put $100,000 into a low- budget film produced by the brother of the pension’s then-chief investment officer, paid $20 million.

The prior fund, Riverstone/Carlyle Global Energy & Power Fund IV LP, was generating a 1.6 times invested capital as of Sept. 30, according to the two people. The third fund, raised in 2006, was producing a 1.8 multiple.

Cobalt Surges

Deep-water oil explorer Cobalt International Energy Inc. (CIE) has been a strong performer for the firm. Cobalt, in which Riverstone held a 19 percent stake as of Jan. 1, has seen its stock more than double this year through yesterday after the company struck oil off the coast of Angola in December.

Early this month, Riverstone and Carlyle agreed to sell Dynamic Offshore Resources LLC to SandRidge Energy Inc. (SD) for $1.28 billion.

Riverstone invests in the midstream, exploration and production, oil-field services, refining and power segments of the energy industry. The firm participates in deals including management buyouts, growth financing and strategic joint ventures.

The firm was founded in 2000 by Leuschen and Pierre Lapeyre, who previously worked as executives in the global energy and power group of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sabrina Willmer in New York at swillmer2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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