Our FirmBackground & History
Years of investment history
Private equity funds raised
Private equity investments made
Years of public company investing
Berkshire Partners seeks to invest in well-positioned, growing companies. Our commitment to collaboration has helped us attract and retain professionals with relevant experience and perspectives.
Our first two decades focused solely on investing through private equity funds. The first investment in Carlin Foods paved the way for 130+ private equity investments to date. Over that time, we have forged meaningful relationships with leaders in the business services & technology, consumer, communications, industrials and healthcare sectors, along with building industry-specific knowledge that informs our practice. Together, we work hard to position our companies for long-term success.
Following our initial focus on building success in our private equity business, we launched Stockbridge, our public equities affiliate, in 2007. Stockbridge and Berkshire Private Equity enjoy a strong history of collaborating and sharing ideas.
We apply a similar approach across our private and public investments and take pride in our culture and our investment process, which is based on analytical rigor and collaborative decision-making. Over three decades, our team has invested through a range of economic cycles, including both up and down markets.
Berkshire Partners was founded in 1986 by Brad Bloom, Chris Clifford, Russ Epker, Carl Ferenbach and Richard Lubin, in the early days of what would become today’s private equity industry. The firm raised its first two private equity funds during this decade and enjoyed early successes in both consumer-oriented and industrial businesses. With those experiences, the firm gained insights into success factors for those sectors, as well as deep relationships with management teams, other executives, advisors, and intermediaries. Sterling Jewelry, one of the fastest-growing jewelry chains in the United States, became Berkshire’s first IPO in 1987.
In the 1990s, the firm raised three more private equity funds, made its first international investments, and completed several privatizations. We also made our first telecommunications investments, helping to build the backbone for the expansion of mobile telephony. This decade also marked the first time we reinvested in the same company, Fresh Start Bakeries. As a firm, Berkshire Partners has long believed that diversity of thought, perspectives, and backgrounds drive better decision-making. The 1990s showed that early commitment when Jane Brock-Wilson became the firm’s first female Managing Director.
In 2007, Stockbridge Investors was formed to take advantage of the firm’s insights and apply them to investing in the public markets. We closed three more private equity funds during this decade. The firm increased its staff to 100 employees, including adding functional leaders in capital markets, portfolio support, legal, business development, talent, and investor relations. We moved to our current headquarters at 200 Clarendon Street, in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. In 2009, we started our current long-standing relationship with the Pan-Mass Challenge, which supports Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, by fielding our first team of riders and volunteers.
Throughout the decade, we continued to deepen and expand our sector specialization, adding healthcare as our fifth industry vertical. We built on our longtime technology and telecommunications experience with investments in data centers, fiber providers, towers, and software and tech services providers, and continued to leverage our expertise in consumer and industrials. In 2010, we opened a San Francisco office, primarily focused on a growing Stockbridge team. At the end of this decade, the firm had been in business for nearly 35 years and had raised nine private equity funds totaling $16 billion in capital commitments and the evergreen Stockbridge fund.