Market wrap up: Carlyle secures $14B in tough times

The past week has been slow on the fund-raising front, but that didn’t stop The Carlyle Group from holding another interim close that brought the total capital commitments obtained for its latest vehicle to about $14 billion. The Washington, D.C.-based firm launched Carlyle Partners V in the spring of 2007 with a target of $15 billion.

The fund has been raised in an exceptionally difficult environment, as the global financial crisis and credit crunch have made it extremely hard for investors to deploy cash.

Private equity fund-raising is at its slowest in more than three years, according to figures from London-based research firm Private Equity Intelligence released in October. A total of 117 funds raised $82.3 billion from investors in the third quarter of 2008, the lowest dollar amount raised since the first quarter of 2005, the research firm reported.

Carlyle declined comment on its fund-raising activity.

The interim close on fund V comes as Carlyle plans to cut 10% of its workforce and closes its office in Menlo Park, Calif. Carlyle last week also confirmed it is shutting its operation in central and Eastern Europe and is letting go its leveraged finance team in Asia in reaction to the global economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the year-to-date total commitments secured by buyout and mezzanine funds has reached $251.8 billion, up from the $249.5 billion reported a week earlier, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week).

In other fund-raising news, Swander Pace Capital also has been active lately, as it secured about $340 million for its fourth fund, which seeks to raise $500 million in commitments. The San Francisco-based firm invests in consumer-products companies with annual revenue of $20 million to $30 million.

Swander raised $325 million for its third fund, which closed in 2003.

Deal Activity

The number of LBO transactions during the past week more than doubled the pace of the prior week, but still remained light. Thomson Reuters tracked seven such deals and none provided financial terms. Year-to-date deal volume remains unchanged at $124.9 billion for deals with disclosed valuations.

Blue Wolf Capital Management was responsible for two of the deals. It acquired both Hospital Laundry Services of Wheeling, Ill., and Northern Illinois Hospital Services Inc. of Rockford, Ill. The two companies provide laundry services to hospitals and clinics.

Another deal last week was the acquisition of Ethicon Inc.’s professional wound care business by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s One Equity Partners unit. The transaction includes the Promogran Matrix Wound Dressing and Tielle Hydropolymer Dressing brands of the maker of wound closure devices. —Eamon Beltran