Cinven Kicks Off Fundraising for $7.1B Fund

European private equity firm Cinven has kicked off fund-raising for its fifth buyout fund, planning to raise 5 billion euro ($7.1 billion) for new deals, Reuters reported. Despite a tough fund-raising market, Cinven is aiming for a first close in autumn, Reuters said. It has deployed 70% of its fourth fund and will continue investing that fund until mid-2012.

(Reuters) – European private equity firm Cinven [CINV.UL] has kicked off a fundraising drive for its fifth buyout fund, aiming to gather up to 5 billion euros ($7.1 billion) for new deals, people familiar with the situation said.

The buyout firm, whose investments include Pizza Express group Gondola Holdings and Dutch cable operator Ziggo, is hoping to buck tough fundraising markets in which amassing new funds can take up to two years.

Cinven targeting a first close — the point after which investors are locked in and it can start investing the capital raised — in the autumn, three people familiar with the situation said.

It has deployed about 70 percent of its fourth fund and has told investors it planned to extend the investment period of the fund by one year, allowing it to continue spending the remaining almost 2 billion euros until mid-2012, the people said.

Cinven, which declined to comment, last raised money in 2006, drawing in 6.5 billion euros from more than 100 institutional investors to beat its initial target of 5 billion.

Private equity fundraising has become more difficult in the wake of the credit crisis as cautious investors pledge less money to fewer buyout firms.

Rival buyout firm BC Partners [BCPRT.UL] earlier this month raised 4 billion euros towards its latest buyout fund, beating initial expectations and providing a ray of hope to the many firms ready to follow it this year.

Private equity professionals attending the SuperReturn private equity conference in Berlin earlier this month said they expected funds to be dramatically smaller than those raised at the peak of the buyouts boom.

(By Simon Meads; Editing by Dan Lalor)