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European buyout fundraising hits record pace

The UK firm’s fund beat its target by €50 million, the latest sign to suggest 2017 could surpass previous years in terms of value.

Oakley Capital has closed its latest fund, Oakley Capital Private Equity III, on €800 million, beating its original hard cap of €750 million.

The fund, which is already around 40% deployed, is being used to invest across the firm’s core sectors of digital consumer, TMT and education. Oakley’s newly acquired portfolio companies include tutoring specialist Schülerhilfe and web-hosting control panel business Plesk.

Oakley’s fundraise continues a strong trend for private equity across the globe. While fund count is unlikely to match the highs of 2007, when it comes to amounts raised, this year suggests a potential record-breaker is on the cards—for both the US and Europe.

So far in 2017, 58 buyout funds have closed in Europe on a total of €50.6 billion, per the PitchBook Platform. While this won’t threaten 2007’s 132 funds closed, that year’s total of €65.9 billion could well be knocked off the top spot. A decade ago, PE fundraising averaged just under €5.5 billion per month. As we enter the tail end of 2017, this year’s fundraising pace is currently at more than €5.6 billion per month.

The huge €16 billion vehicle that CVC Capital Partners closed in June has helped, but it’s far from the only significant fund this year. Indeed, 2017 has seen nine €1 billion-plus buyout funds in Europe already, according to PitchBook data, while 2007 had 10 for the whole year. And with BC Partners reportedly set to close its €6.7 billion Fund X in the near future, per Private Equity International, we could have a race on our hands to see if the record can be broken.

PitchBook Platform subscribers can access the full data on PE fundraising in Europe.

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    Written by Sean Lightbown
    Sean was a financial writer in PitchBook’s London office, working on the daily European newsletter. Previously, he worked in both London and New York for Mergermarket, writing and editing white-label reports for accounting firms, law firms and other service providers, covering topics including M&A, private equity and high-yield debt.

    Sean holds a BSc in Politics with Economics from the University of Bath, and is a long-suffering Bolton Wanderers supporter.
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