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General Catalyst said to be in talks to sell stake to Goldman Sachs unit

David Fialkow (left) is a cofounder of General Catalyst.
David Fialkow (left) is a cofounder of General Catalyst.Bill Brett for The Boston Globe/File 2012

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Petershill unit is close to reaching a deal for a stake in Cambridge venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners, people familiar with the matter said.

If an agreement is reached, it would be Petershill’s first investment in a venture capital firm, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Terms of the transaction haven’t been finalized and talks could end without a deal, the people said. The size of the potential stake isn’t clear.

A representative for Goldman Sachs declined to comment. A General Catalyst representative didn’t have an immediate comment.

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Petershill raised $2.5 billion in February for its latest fund dedicated to buying minority stakes in alternative asset managers, exceeding its original $2 billion target.

Those businesses are often too small to go public and are becoming increasingly open to selling stakes to larger firms such as Petershill, Blackstone Group LP, and Neuberger Berman Group’s Dyal Capital Partners. Proceeds are often used to supplement partner commitments to new funds or to seed new strategies, which can come with significant hiring requirements.

Petershill’s investments -- many in private equity firms -- include stakes in Clearlake Capital Group, Francisco Partners, Accel-KKR, ArcLight Capital Partners, Littlejohn & Co., and Riverstone Holdings, among others.

General Catalyst, founded by Joe Cutler and David Fialkow in 2000, ranks as a venture capital heavyweight, investing in companies including Airbnb, Snap, and Warby Parker. The firm closed a $1.375 billion fund — its ninth — this year.

That fund size would previously have numbered General Catalyst with Silicon Valley’s largest firms. Such funds have lost some of their impact, though, as SoftBank Group Corp. deploys its $100 billion Vision Fund, which includes venture investments.


Material from Globe staff is included in this story.