Bridgepoint Raises €4.8 Billion for Fourth European Buyout Fund

Private equity firm Bridgepoint has closed its fourth European buyout fund after exceeding its fund-raising target by more than 20%.

Active mid-market private equity fund raisings have increased sharply to about 1,600 from 1,300 in January, according to research from consultancy Preqin. The growth has come as the credit crunch stymies larger players which have relied on greater leverage to secure big-ticket deals.

Preqin said the increased competition has pushed out the time taken to reach fund-raising targets to 15 months from nine months. Bridgepoint started actively marketing its fourth European fund last October and reached its 4 billion euro ($5.01 billion) target in March.

It left the fund open to allow existing investors the opportunity to commit more funds. It said investors, including pension funds and fund of funds, who did recommit to the fundraising increased their commitment by 55 percent on average, bringing the total at close to just over 4.8 billion euros.

Bridgepoint, whose businesses include the Pret A Manger sandwich chain, has now fully invested its third, 2.5 billion euro buyout fund and will now look to plough its fourth fund into 20 to 25 buyout opportunities across Europe over the next five or six years.

It targets businesses valued at up to 1 billion euros across six sectors including consumer, media and financial services.