European fundraising explosion

At the same conference, EVCA unveiled its preliminary research showing €60bn (US$72.8bn) was raised by its members last year, more than double 2004’s figure of €27.5bn.

The bumper crop was led by CVC Capital Partners, which raised a net €5.985.5bn, the largest sum ever in Europe. UK-based rival BC Partners was close behind, raising just €300m less than CVC, while Apax Partners and Candover both raised more than €3bn in net money.

In total, six managers raised more than 2004’s largest fundraising, when Nordic buyout firm EQT raised a net €2.41bn for its fourth fund.

Buyout funds dominated fundraising last year with €45.6bn committed to this area by investors. Venture funds raised €12.6bn, which was a 44% increase from 2004, and early-stage high-tech funds saw a trebling of commitment with €3.46bn raised compared to €1.35bn in 2004.

Last year, the biggest investors were banks and pension funds, which provided 57.5% of funds, compared to 41.0% in 2004. In absolute terms, this represents a trebling of their allocation to private equity.