Thoma Bravo announced Tuesday that its tenth fund came in at $1.25 billion and was substantially oversubscribed. The PE firm did not disclose investors for Fund X, although Thoma Bravo did add a sovereign wealth fund to the mix, says Carl Thoma, a managing partner.
Thoma Bravo spent roughly five months officially marketing for fund X, less than half the time it spent on its ninth fund. Marketing for fund X started after Labor Day with a $950 million target. PeHUB reported in October that Thoma Bravo was receiving so much interest that Fund X would likely come in at $1.2 billion. Thoma Bravo Fund X LP actually closed at $1.25 billion, because some general partners ended up putting in more money, Thoma says.
“In all humility, this was our easiest time raising money,” Thoma says. “But I owe that to my partners and all of our portfolio companies that allowed us to put up strong returns for our LPs.”
The firm did not use a placement agent for the fund.
Thoma Bravo had a more difficult time fundraising for its ninth fund. The PE firm spent 12 months marketing for Fund IX, which initially had a $1 billion target. Thoma Bravo ended up reducing that target to $822.5 billion, which closed in 2009. Fund IX has an ROI of 45%, which Thoma says isn’t as relevant as the 20% returns generated by each of the firm’s previous nine funds.
One trend that benefited Fund X? Mega funds are currently out of favor with pension funds and endowments, Thoma says. These large LPs are pulling their money out of the mega funds and putting it into the middle market, he says. “The fund could’ve been twice as big,” Thoma says. “We agreed to cap it at this size.”
Despite all this good news, Thoma says he’s “peeved” at the private equity industry, which has allowed itself to be portrayed as “greedy people.”
Thoma, 63, says he has a different attitude than some at the Blackstone Group or the Carlyle Group. Thoma helped co-found Golder Thoma & Co. which became known as Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner in the 1980s. The PE firm spawned GTCR and the current Thoma Bravo. Thoma is also the former chairman and president of the NVCA.
“Somewhere along the way, the PE industry lost its way,” he says. “Our industry is about moving capital and supporting companies so they can grow and create jobs. Nothing more, nothing less…Somewhere along the way it got to be about ‘private equity is about people getting rich.’”
“I didn’t get into this business to get rich,” Thoma adds.