Market at a glance: Avenue Capital closes at $6B

Buyout and mezzanine firms continue to be active players in the fund-raising market as they finished the first half of the year having pulled together nearly $150 billion in commitments.

But the year-to-date total is still off pace from last year when firms raised nearly $475 billion for the year for new funds.

Avenue Capital Group led last week’s fund-raising expedition with the final close of Avenue Capital Special Situations Fund V. The New York-based firm, which focuses on the distressed debt market, was on target for the fund. Private Equity Insider reported the fund closed at $6 billion.

AEA Investors Inc. also closed its latest buyout fund, 2006 Investment Program, at the $1.5 billion target and Northstar Capital completed the fund-raising for Northstar Mezzanine Partners V LP at the hard cap of $500 million.

In addition, Topspin Partners has closed Topspin Partners LBO, which will focus on the lower middle market, at $132 million in commitments. The Roslyn Heights, N.Y.-based firm’s fund had an initial target of $100 million.

Deal roundup

The industry’s deal flow continues to remain few in number with little bulk to carry deal volume forward by any huge leap.

U.S.-based LBO shops completed 11 control-stake deals in the past week, according to Thomson Reuters. (publisher of PE Week). The five with disclosed prices had an aggregate value of $771.4 million.

Most of the total was from Morgan Stanley Private Equity’s purchase of a 60% stake in Learning Care Group Inc., a Novi, Mich.-based provider of child day care services with 1,150 schools, for $723.15 million.

Thoma Cressey Bravo Inc.’s Embarcadero Technologies Inc. unit also acquired CodeGear, a software developer, from Borland Software Corp. for about $24.5 million. The latest transactions helped year-to-date deal volume crawled up to about $56.9 billion. —Eamon Beltran