The 2013 PEI 300: Advent of better days?

Advent International – which appears in our top 10 for the first time – showed it was still possible for good firms to raise big funds last year

Most firms on the fundraising trail last year found the process pretty arduous. But there were a few GPs who bucked the trend by smashing through their targets, often in a surprisingly short timeframe.

In 2012, perhaps the most prominent example was Advent International. In November, it closed its seventh global mid-market fund on €8.5 billion – the biggest fund closed in the last 12 months by some distance. It means that Advent has now raised just over $23 billion since the start of 2008, which puts it in the top 10 of the PEI 300 for the first time ever.

Advent started pre-marketing its Fund VII at the back end of 2011, and only officially launched it in March. Eight months later, it had already reached its €8 billion hard-cap – which it increased in response to investor demand. Almost all its existing investors re-upped, with every LP coming in on exactly the same terms.

But Advent wasn’t the only group to climb the rankings this year thanks to a successful fundraise. Cinven’s new €5 billion buyout fund propelled it up 52 places to number 30, while Ares Management jumped 49 places to number 18 after closing its fourth fund on $4.7 billion in August and energy specialist EnCap climbed 23 places to 16 after raising a further $5 billion.

There are also some firms that make their debut on the PEI 300 this year – again, mostly as a result of successful fundraises. The highest new entry was Taoshi Equity Investment Management, a Shanghai-based firm set up as a joint venture by Ping An, a big Chinese insurer, and two other Chinese groups. Other notable debutants included New York-based Rhône Capital, which closed a €1.1 billion fund last July, and Deutsche Beteiligungs, a listed German group, which raised €700 million in just four months in the middle of last year.

All of which provides a useful corrective to the current gloom in the fundraising market. Figures produced by PEI’s Research and Analytics division suggest that total capital raised actually climbed year-on-year in 2012, up 10 percent to $265 billion. While that doesn’t exactly point to a rebound in the market, or indicate that life is going to be a bed of roses in fundraising terms in 2013, it does at least suggest that there is money available for good groups with a strong track record and a compelling strategy. Just ask Advent and co.