U.S. Private Equity Firms Raise $132B

Jul 9 2008 | 9:31am ET

Despite woes in the buyout market, private equity fundraising continues apace. In the first six months of 2008, U.S. p.e. firms raised $132.7 billion across 185 funds, just 3% less than the $137.2 billion raised by 199 funds during the first half of 2007, according to Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst.

Leveraged buyout fundraising declined 20% compared to the same period last year, as such firms raised only $85.5 billion across 75 funds, down from $107.6 billion raised in 91 funds. Seven “mega firms,” defined as firms raising funds of $6 billion or larger, raised $36.6 billion, only a bit below the $37.4 billion raised by eight mega firms last year.

According to Dow Jones, mezzanine fundraising set a new first half record with $24 billion raised by seven firms, thanks almost entirely to Goldman Sachs Capital Partners' record $20 billion GS Mezzanine Partners V, which includes $7 billion of leverage. Meanwhile, venture capital fundraising increased by 15% to $11.5 billion raised by 72 funds from $10 billion raised by 62 funds last year.

Warburg Pincus closed the largest buyout fund of the first half with its $15 billion Warburg Pincus Private Equity X. The largest venture capital fund belonged to Lightspeed Venture Partners, which raised $800 million for its Lightspeed Venture Partners VIII.

European p.e. firms saw an upswing in investment in the first half of 2008, the newsletter reported, with nearly $61.1 billion invested in 80 funds, a 16% increase over the $52.5 billion invested in 81 funds during the same period last year. Buyout funds accounted for $54.8 billion, or nearly 90% of Europe's fund-raising total.

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