Hellman & Friedman doubles its fundraising

Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco-based buyout firm, has held a final close of its sixth fund with US$8.4bn (€6.2bn) of commitments. As with its predecessor, HFCP VI will make investments of US$250m to US$1bn, primarily in the US and Europe, focusing on financial services, professional services, media, information services and power and energy assets.

Hellman & Friedman was unable to comment on the fundraising, but a source said that earlier funds HFCP IV and HFCP V had allocated roughly 40% of their total capital to European transactions.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System was the only limited partner to be named, having already committed to Hellman & Friedman’s four previous vehicles, allocating US$150m and US$200m respectively to funds four and five.

According to the CalPERS website, HFCP IV, raised in 2000, has generated a total money multiple of 2.4 times and an IRR of 34.8% to date, with the pension fund having already more than recovered its commitment. The source added that more than 80% of HFCP VI’s investor base had re-upped from earlier vehicles.

Despite a traditional four-year investment period between earlier funds, Hellman & Friedman has matched its peers’ voracious appetite for investment with just under three years having passed since the firm raised HFCP V, at US$3.5bn, significantly less than half the latest partnership.

In Europe, the firm has followed a predominantly club deal-led strategy, investing alongside buyout rivals in several high-profile big-ticket buyouts, including the €8.7bn take-private of Dutch media and marketing group VNU in 2006; and German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 alongside Haim Saban, Alpine Equity Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Putnam Investments, Quadrangle Group and Thomas H Lee Partners for €525m in late 2003.

Axel Springer Verlag, a German publisher part-owned by Hellman & Friedman, attempted to buy the business in 2005 but the deal was blocked by German regulators before Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired a majority stake late last year.

Hellman & Friedman has now raised more than US$16bn since its establishment in 1984. Its London office opened in 2004 and currently houses 10 investment professionals with further recruitment expected to take place this year.