PRIVATE equity house BC Partners has shone a ray of light on the troubled buyout industry by raising €6.5bn (£5.45bn), in the largest European fundraising since the onset of the financial crisis.
The owner of gyms chain Fitness First and Swedish cable group Com Hem raised more than it expected despite many of the world’s pension funds, banks and insurers sitting on their cash last year. Only US giant Blackstone has recently collected a greater a sum, taking four years to bring in $16bn (£10.14bn).
BC tapped new investors, including sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia over 18 months. It will enable the group to maintain a deal rate after being one of the most active private equity firms in Europe last year, when it carried out four takeovers including a deal worth £600m to £700m for Phones 4u.
Charlie Bott, managing partner of BC, said raising a fund took two to three times longer than at the height of the boom. BC offered the first wave of investors a five per cent reduction in management fees and carried interest – the bonuses paid out to private equity executives.
Private equity firms raised $263bn in 2011, sightly less than in 2010, according to data firm Preqin.