Bridgepoint hits £1.5bn hard-cap on latest lower mid-market fund

Bridgepoint Development Capital IV's haul comes as private equity funds focusing on Western Europe seek almost $100bn in total.

Bridgepoint, the eighth-largest private equity firm in Europe according to the PEI 300, has hit the hard-cap on its fourth lower mid-market private equity fund around eight months after launching the vehicle.

The London-headquartered firm has collected £1.5 billion ($1.95 billion; €1.66 billion) for Bridgepoint Development Capital IV, thereby surpassing its £1 billion target, according to a source familiar with the fundraise.

The vehicle is already around 2.5 times larger than its predecessor, a 2016-vintage fund that closed on £605 million, according to PEI data. That fund is understood to be more than 80 percent invested.

It is unclear when the fund will hold its final close. A spokesman for Bridgepoint declined to comment on fundraising.

Bridgepoint used its BDC III fund to acquire a majority stake in Private Equity International parent company PEI Media in 2018.

According to an investment document for BDC IV from February, the fund will invest in around 20 companies across the UK, France and the Nordics.

Bridgepoint’s BDC strategy has invested in 32 assets across three funds. Funds I to III had generated a realised 3.3x gross money multiple and a gross internal rate of return of 33 percent, according to the document.

Documents from the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System from May show that BDC IV will seek to invest in compelling lower mid-market growth companies –with enterprise values typically ranging between £30 million and £150 million, and targeting opportunities in Western Europe.

The GP commitment was expected to be at least 2 percent of commitments in or alongside the fund, the documents show.

Investors in BDC IV so far include the Fresno County Employees’ Retirement Association, the New Mexico State Investment Council and the South Carolina Retirement System, according to PEI data. It is understood that the fund received a roughly 90 percent re-up rate from LPs in the predecessor vehicle.

Private equity funds focusing on Europe were seeking around $97 billion for buyout, growth and distressed strategies as of early September, according to PEI data.

The coronavirus did little to dent capital raised for private equity strategies in final closes during the first half of this year: funds raised $243 billion between January and June, a slight increase on the $234 billion collected in the first six months of last year.

Bridgepoint ranked 32nd globally in the most recent PEI 300 ranking of the industry’s largest fundraisers over a five-year period, having raised $15.2 billion between January 2015 and April 2020.