Market at a Glance: Madison Dearborn pulls in $3B

Madison Dearborn Partners and Thoma Bravo have accounted for a majority of the fund-raising drive in the past week as buyout firms have altogether raised about $80.5 billion in 2008.

Madison Dearborn recently held a $3 billion first close for its sixth fund, which is targeted to be $10 billion. Madison Dearborn, which is taking longer to raise this fund than past efforts, expects to hold a second closing on at least another $2 billion within the next 60 days.

People familiar with the firm have attributed the slow fund-raising to the wake of the credit crisis and economic slowdown, in which Madison Dearborn and other firms have slowed their distributions to limited partners.

Thoma Bravo also held a $520 million first close for its ninth fund. The Chicago-based firm lowered Thoma Bravo Partners IX’s target to $800 million from $1 billion.

Meanwhile, news about anticipated fund-raising by new vehicles has been in the driver’s seat during the past week, as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wants to raise $7.5 billion for its second infrastructure fund.

Philadelphia-based LLR Partners is also targeting $600 million for its third fund. The Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System plans to commit $187.5 million to LLR Equity Partners III.

In addition, ABS Capital Partners is seeking $400 million for ABS Capital Partners Fund VI. Baltimore-based ABS Capital took in $300 million for its previous fund in 2005, with Deutsche Bank Securities as the placement agent.

Deal activity

Deal activity remained in the slow lane this past week as year-to-date deal volume moved ahead slightly to about $47.1 billion. U.S.-based LBO shops closed only 11 deals, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week).

There were four transactions with disclosed values that totaled $815.6 million.

Platinum Equity’s acquisition of Covad Communications Group Inc. for a rank value of $419.3 million was the largest LBO transaction. It was followed by the purchase of Vernon, Calif.’s natural gas unit. The city’s generating and transmission portfolio sold for $342 million to an investor group.