In the first half of 2015, Europe-focused private equity funds raised a formidable €57bn, up from €56bn over the same period in 2014. In Q3, an improving macroeconomic environment, along with a small number of high-profile fund closures, helped Europe-focused funds raise a record €32bn. In line with recent years, the number of funds to reach a final close has declined, while average fund size has increased exponentially, from €393bn in 2014 to €540bn so far in 2015.
EQT VII is the largest Europe-focused vehicle to have closed so far this year, collecting €6.75bn. Similar to predecessor funds, the vehicle focuses on companies with strong market positions, robust financials and a significant potential for revenue and earnings growth. EQT’s seventh fund seeks to make investments in the range of €125-600mn across Western Europe, with a particular focus on the Nordic and German-speaking regions. Along with EQT VII, Lone Star Real Estate Fund IV, Fortress Credit Opportunities Fund IV, Bridgepoint Europe V and Carlyle Europe Partners IV rank as the largest funds closed in 2015 so far.
The Carlyle Group has closed three Europe-focused funds this year, collecting a combined €6.9bn in aggregate capital commitments. The largest of which is industry-agnostic Carlyle Europe Partners IV fund, which closed on a hard cap of €3.9bn.
EQT VII and Carlyle Europe Partners IV are two of six buyout vehicles to feature in the top 10 table above. According to Preqin’s Funds in Market database, Europe-focused buyout vehicles have collected an aggregate €38bn in 2015, surpassing the €31bn collected in 2014. Buyout remains the most prominent fund type with regards to Europe-focused capital raised. Real estate vehicles follow with an aggregate €18bn raised in 2015 YTD. Venture capital remains the most common Europe-focused fund type, with 46 funds raising an aggregate €4.9bn in 2015 so far.
There are currently 502 funds raising capital with a primary focus on European investments, collectively seeking €194bn. Almost 40% of these funds have held an interim close, having raised €45bn thus far, an encouraging indication of the momentum in European fundraising for Q4 2015 and beyond.