PE fundraising drops in 2018 as GPs eye large hauls this year

Last year firms raised $352bn for the asset class, an almost 26% drop on the previous year, according to preliminary PEI data.

Private equity fundraising looks to have fallen last year, according to preliminary PEI data.

Funds attracted around $352.3 billion for the asset class – excluding venture capital trusts and corporate debt – in 2018, an almost 26 percent drop from the $473.2 billion raised the previous year.

This marks the lowest annual total since the $357 billion gathered in 2015. Last year’s total could change if additional closes are announced late.

“Lots of GPs took advantage of the opportunity to increase fund size and scale last year,” Graham McDonald, head of private equity at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told Private Equity International. “Some big names are poised and pre-marketing again for 2019, so we’ll likely see a jump in value this year. We’re anticipating a busy first half with lots of re-ups to look at.”

The number of funds closed also fell to 509 last year from 756 the previous year. The average fund size climbed to $692 million, slightly above the $626 million average recorded in 2017.

Carlyle Group notched up two of the year’s largest closes. The Washington DC-headquartered firm collected $18.5 billion for Carlyle Partners VII, the most of any fund during the year, and $6.6 billion for Carlyle Asia Partners V. Hellman & Friedman‘s ninth flagship, Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners IX, closed on $16 billion, making it the second-biggest fund to close last year.

Two UK firms beat the Brexit blues to feature in the industry’s 10 largest funds. BC Partners gathered €7 billion for BC European Capital X and Bridgepoint, which owns PEI, secured €5.7 billion for Bridgepoint Europe VI.