New York-based Avista Capital Partners, best known in these parts as the former owner of the Star Tribune, has made a return to the region as an investor in frac sand.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed by Houston-based Hi-Crush Partners LP, Avista is a major financial player at three Wisconsin frac sand sites.

Hi-Crush Partners and Hi-Crush Proppants LLC control the mining sites in Wyeville, Tomah and Augusta. The Wyeville site, alone, can deliver about 1.6 million tons of frac sand per year.

Avista is described in the document as a lead investor and two Avista executives sit on the board of directors for Hi-Crush Partners. The company’s stock (HCLP) is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

"We are a pure play, low-cost, domestic producer of premium monocrystalline sand,'' Hi-Crush said in its stock registration statement. "We own, operate and develop sand reserves and related excavation and processing facilities and will seek to acquire or develop additional facilities.''

Avista purchased the Star Tribune in early 2007 for $530 million. The newspaper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and Avista walked away with nothing when the reorganization ended in September of that year.

Star Tribune photo from left to right: Avista's OhSang Kwon, Chris Harte, former publisher Keith Moyer and Avista's James Finkelstein.


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