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Fund invests in Provo Craft

Sorenson Capital credits growth, management for interest in firm

Sorenson Capital, a $250 million private equity fund based in Salt Lake City, announced Thursday it will become an investment partner in Provo Craft and Novelty.

The Spanish Fork-based business operates 10 retail centers in Utah and Idaho under the Roberts Arts & Crafts name. The company employs roughly 800 people statewide and is a wholesale creator, designer and supplier of scrapbooking supplies, home decor and general craft items to national and international outlets.

Fraser Bullock, managing director of Sorenson Capital, would not disclose details of the transaction but did say the decision to invest in the company was based on a strong management team.

"They have a tremendously successful track record of very robust growth," Bullock said. "We will take no management role because we have full confidence in them. We want to support them and provide resources to continue strong growth in the business."

The equity provided to the company will be used to add liquidity to existing investors and payoff debt, according to Eric Larsen, president and chief operating officer of Provo Craft. A new retail store will be opened this fall in Clinton.

"Sorenson Capital actually first approached us about a year ago," Larsen said. "They bring some additional level of expertise in financial operations and strategic planning that will help us continue to grow."

Sorenson Capital's latest investment follows an investment earlier this month in Sandy-based Kiddie Kandids.

Unlike other equity funds, Sorenson Capital is a leveraged buyout fund, where money is targeted at buying small to midsize Western U.S. companies with revenues of $30 million to $300 million.

Since its launch in 2004, Sorenson Capital has invested in eight companies, six of which have a presence in Utah. Only one of the eight companies is a high-tech company.