Berkshire Partners Raises $4B In Just Months

Firm: Berkshire Partners

Fund: Berkshire Fund VIII LP

Target: $4 billion

Placement agent: None

Some buyout firms may be having problems fundraising but don’t tell that to Berkshire Partners.

The Boston-based firm has been marketing for their eighth fund, which is clocking in at $4 billion, three sources told peHub, a sister Web site to Buyouts. What is so incredible is that Berkshire only began fundraising in late January and is expected to announce a first close in the next week, a source said. A final close for Berkshire Fund VIII LP is seen coming 60 days after.

“There was massive interest,” a second source said. “This is one of the must-have funds of 2011.”

Berkshire did not use a placement agent, sources said.

The firm’s last fund, Berkshire Fund VII LP, raised $3.1 billion in 2006. The firm’s sixth fund collected $1.7 billion in 2007. Fund VII has a net IRR of 6.9 percent while the sixth fund touts a net IRR of 23.2 percent, according to Sept. 30 data from CalPERS.

Berkshire typically invests between $50 million to $500 million of equity per deal. The firm focuses on sectors including consumer products, retailing and related services, business services, transportation and energy, as well as industrial manufacturing and communications. Last week, Berkshire recapped Engineering Solutions & Products, a government services provider. Berkshire and Rhône, in January, made a minority investment in Coty, the beauty company.

While fundraising is rebounding this year, firms are taken longer to market. The Gores Group took 18 months to complete its third fund, which came in at $2 billion. EnCap Investments spent 9 to 10 months to raise $3.5 billion for their eighth upstream fund.

Why did Berkshire do so well so fast? The firm had great numbers, was in the right space (growth), and has “a really deep LP base that committed to re-up early, creating the momentum,” the second source said.

Luisa Beltran is a senior writer for peHub, a sister Web site to Buyouts.