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Carlyle Halfway On Asia Fund After 18 Months

The Carlyle Group’s third Asia buyout fund may be lucky to meet its target. According to a regulatory filing dated March 16, Carlyle Asia Partners III has raised $1.927 billion from 89 investors, after being formed in 2007 with a listed target of $5 billion.

However, I’m pretty sure that’s an optimistic hard cap, since Bloomberg reported it at $4 billion target back in February ’07. That same story quotes sources as saying the firm hopes to wrap up fundraising by mid-year ’08. Clearly, times have changed.

Carlyle Group has been leading private equity expansion into Asia for some time now. Carlyle’s first two Asia-focused buyout funds raised a respective $750 million and $1.8 billion in 1999 and 2006. Carlyle Asia Partners II co-invested with the firm’s main buyout fund on its purchased of Freescale Semiconductor, a deal the firm has marked down by 15% of its cost.

In addition to its traditional Asia buyout fund, the firm is raising $1 billion for an Asian property fund, its second. Carlyle Asia Real Estate Partners II has closed on $460.87 million in commitments, according to an April 1 regulatory filing.

The firm hasn’t enjoyed full-on success in the region. Earlier this year, Carlyle closed its Asian leveraged finance group,. Reuters said the effort—the first attempt by a firm to create a traditional debt fund in Asia—failed because it was unable to drum up investor interest.

Eric Mason, the former head of leveraged finance in Asia, recently joined Church Pension Fund, the Episcopal Church’s $8 billion pension system. He is leading the opening of a Hong Kong office for the church.