Report: PEP launching A$3.5bn fund

Australia's Pacific Equity Partners intends to launch one of the country's largest funds in recent years despite the weak fundraising climate.

Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners is planning to raise a A$3.5 billion (€2.8 billion; $3.6 billion) for its fifth fund, focused on acquisition opportunities in Australia, according to Australian media reports.

PEP could not be reached for confirmation by press time because all partners were at the firm’s annual conference in Sydney.

Local media reported that that the firm hopes to raise about $2 billion of core equity from investors and $1 billion to $1.5 billion in co-investment money next year.

PEP raised its largest fund in 2008, closing at A$4 billion.

Fundraising levels in Australia dropped 46 percent to A$376 million in the first nine months of 2012 compared to A$690 million during the same period in 2011, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Deal value has also plunged. To 1 November, private equity transaction value in Australia was down more than 80 percent to $1.04 billion compared to $6.5 billion for the full year 2011, according to Mergermarket.

In May, PEP acquired cleaning services giant Spotless Group for A$720 million, which accounts for much of the 2012 deal value.