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Thomas H Lee Partners raises USD900m for automation-focused PE fund

Thomas H Lee Partners (THL), a premier private equity firm investing in middle market growth companies, has held the final close of THL Automation Fund at USD900 million. The Fund will back automation companies, including technology product, software and services businesses, that enhance productivity across a range of end markets and use cases.

“We created the Fund to invest in companies driving step-function change through automation and to support management teams in accelerating growth with both capital and with a 20-member integrated team of automation experts,” says Jim Carlisle, Managing Director who leads the Automation Fund.

“Automation is everywhere in the news now as a result of the pandemic, but the reality is that the return on investment from automation was already high for businesses that deployed automation pre-pandemic. We started building our thesis, network and capability years ago because the fundamental drivers of adoption — labour pressures, business resiliency, efficiency gains, throughput improvements and more — were already top of mind for business leaders across sectors,” Carlisle says, “and the technology exists to solve those problems.”

The Fund will pursue equity investment opportunities that harness a range of technologies – from software and artificial intelligence to robotics and additive manufacturing to systems design and integration – driving automation in e-Commerce, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, food and beverage, financial services, real estate, consumer products and other sectors.

THL has substantial experience investing in automation. Since 2017, the firm’s affiliated funds and co-investors have deployed approximately USD2 billion of equity in four platform companies and eight add-on transactions in the sector. THL’s current automation platform companies include Autostore, Material Handling Systems, Fortna and Phytech.

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