BC Partners closes record fund

Days after the official launch of Blackstone’s $11bn fund, BC Partners has closed the largest-ever European buyout fund on “over €5.5bn”.

The bar keeps getting higher.

London-headquartered BC Partners has closed BC European Capital (BCEC) VIII on “over €5.5 billion” ($7 billion) according to a press release. The Financial Times cited the final figure as €5.8 billion without giving a source.

The firm began fundraising less than five months ago and said that the fund was “heavily oversubscribed”. 90 percent of commitments came from the firm’s existing investors with just 10 percent open to new limited partners.

50 percent of the fund’s investors came from North America, accounting for just over 50 percent of the total raised. 20 percent came from Britain and Europe, with the remainder Asia-based, according to a report in The Deal.

BCEC VIII is the largest buyout fund raised in Europe, taking the mantle from London-based Permira, which closed on €5.1 billion in 2003, although CVC Capital Partners is reportedly seeking to raise in excess of €6 billion for its next buyout fund.

BC’s latest vehicle is a successor to its €4.3 billion seventh fund, raised in 2000. Since its inception in 1986, the firm has invested in 58 companies with a total transaction value in excess of €34 billion and manages over €11 billion in its eight funds.

90 percent of commitments came from the firm’s existing investors.

BC Partners expects to acquire between ten and 20 companies from its new fund and can arrange acquisitions with a value of up to €6 billion without having to resort to club deals with other buyout houses. The firm has seven managing partners and 34 investment professionals operating across five European offices.

The fund is the latest in a succession of large buyout fund closes in what is shaping up to be a banner year for private equity fundraising. The largest fund closed this year was the $8.5 billion co-investment vehicle from Goldman Sachs Capital Partners in April.

New-York headquartered Blackstone Group has just announced the official launch of its new $11 billion buyout fund. The firm had reportedly told existing investors that the firm had already received interest for up to $12 billion for the new fund, which will be almost double its previous vehicle, which closed on $6.5 billion in 2002.