Apparently undeterred by a challenging dealmaking environment, Blackstone is preparing to raise more than $20 billion for its eighth global buyout fund, according to Bloomberg.
The vehicle would follow a predecessor that closed on $18 billion in 2015, exceeding a $17.5 billion hard cap. It's unclear if the firm is attempting to raise its largest fund ever, which would require surpassing the $21.7 billion it raised for a buyout vehicle in 2007 before the onset of the financial crisis.
US PE firms amassed more than $187 billion across 176 buyout funds last year, the highest totals since at least 2008 and comparable with those seen in 2007, according to PitchBook data. But that pace has dropped dramatically more than halfway through 2018, with firms having raised just about $48 billion across 71 funds so far.
Here's a more detailed look at how US private equity firms have fared with buyout fundraising since 2006:
The push for such a large pool of capital comes at an interesting juncture, considering Blackstone still has its hands full finding deals for its seventh global buyout fund, which had yet to invest one-third of its capital by March 31, according to an SEC filing uncovered by Bloomberg.
One piece of good news on the dealmaking front: The firm agreed earlier this year to purchase a 55% stake in the financial and risk business of Thomson Reuters, pledging some $3 billion in cash and $14 billion in debt and preferred equity. That deal is expected to close by the end of the summer, per Reuters.
Blackstone's latest buyout effort could conceivably surpass the record set by Apollo Global Management, which raised a $24.7 billion fund in 2017 amid the most lucrative year for private equity fundraising in recent memory.