Holiday season round-up: Fundraisings

After a number of notable fundraising successes worldwide in 2011, and some failures, several firms launched new funds in the run-up to the Christmas break or held closes.

The Carlyle Group has reportedly launched fundraising for a new financial services-focused buyout fund. The target for the fund is understood to be in excess of the $1.1 billion its previous financial services vehicle raised in 2008. The firm’s financial services group is led by Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Reuters reported that the new fund, Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners II, has a minimum commitment threshold of $10 million and will probably take more than a year to raise.

Hong Kong-based private equity firm H&Q Asia Pacific is to raise an RMB-denominated private equity fund, according to its Chairman Ta-lin Hsu. Hsu told the Wall Street Journal: “We've seen a surge in interest from domestic investors” for private-equity funds. He said the firm will continue to raise dollar-denominated funds for Chinese investors looking to invest abroad as well as foreign LPs looking to tap the Chinese market.

US buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners has received about $4 billion of commitments for its sixth fund, according to Bloomberg. The report suggested that the Los Angeles-based firm, whose investments include Whole Foods and 99 Cents Only, hoped to complete fundraising in December, with a formal close likely to follow this month. The target is thought to be in the region of $5.3 billion, the amount Leonard Green raised for its fifth fund, which closed in 2007.

Abu Dhabi-based The National Investor (TNI) and KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) have provided US$20 million of seed capital for the first fund to be managed by Etqaan Shariah Capital Partners, a joint venture between the two groups. The Etqaan Shariah Fund will invest between US$20 million and US$40 million in six to eight portfolio companies in the Middle East and North Africa region, looking to take majority stakes in leading regional businesses facing short-term financial pressures. It is aiming to provide a dividend yield of up to five per cent, and a gross annual IRR of more than 30 percent. Etqaan will now focus on raising further capital both within the region and internationally, it said in a statement.

Japan-focused private equity firm Next Capital Partners has held a first close for its second Japanese fund, Next Capital Partners II, with commitments of JPY 4 billion (US$50 million). It hopes to raise a total of JPY 10-15 billion (US$130-190 million) for the fund, which, like its predecessor, will target control turnaround investment opportunities in struggling Japanese lower-middle-market companies. NCP said it believed it was “making an important contribution to the revitalization of the Japanese economy”.