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Exclusive: PE firms raise $80bn in Q1

Research shows there are more than 2,100 funds currently in market, targeting $706bn

Private equity fundraising got off to a strong start this year, with $79.78 billion raised for 145 vehicles in the first quarter, according to fresh research from Private Equity International’s Research & Analytics division.

PEI expects this quarterly number to increase by around 15 percent once final data is in, which will make Q1 2015 the strongest start to any post-crisis year.

According to the research, more capital was raised for fewer vehicles during the quarter. In Q1 2014 $80.3 billion was amassed for 175 funds, while in Q1 2013 $76.7 billion was raised for 173 funds.

By far the most capital was raised for North America, with $35.25 billion worth of capital collected for the region. More capital was raised for Asia-Pacific funds than Europe, with the regions collecting $13.66 billion and $13.64 billion in commitments respectively. Asia-Pacific’s impressive start to the year was boosted by the close of Baring Private Equity Asia’s sixth pan-Asian vehicle just shy of $4 billion at the end of February. Global funds secured commitments of $16.16 billion.

The largest fund closings of the quarter were NGP Natural Resources XI, a venture capital and growth fund which closed on $5.33 billion, buyout vehicle American Securities Partners VII, which raised $5 billion, and Blackstone Energy Partners II, which closed on $4.5 billion.

Only 10 percent of funds raised fell short of their target, while 61 percent closed at target and 29 percent ahead of target.

The robust fundraising figures are likely to continue for the rest of 2015. There are currently more than 2,100 funds in market, with a combined target of $706 billion, including two vehicles seeking more than $10 billion. Blackstone Capital Partners VII is looking to raise $16 billion, while TPG Partners VII has a $10 billion target.

Lexington Capital Partners, which is seeking $8 billion for its latest secondaries vehicle, had already collected at least $6 billion for Lexington Capital Partners VIII as of last November, PEI sister publication Secondaries Investor reported at the time. According to media reports the vehicle may have secured commitments of as much as $9 billion.