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Exclusive: Blackstone’s private equity secondaries shop launches next fund

Blackstone’s private equity secondaries team has launched its sixth fund targeting $3.5 billion to $4 billion, according to two sources and a marketing document seen by peHUB.

The fund is expected to hold a first close in the fourth quarter, according to the fundraising document. The team, called Strategic Partners, has 30 employees in New York, London and San Francisco, the document said.

Blackstone declined to comment.

Blackstone acquired Strategic Partners from Credit Suisse earlier this year, according to a statement from Blackstone at the time. Strategic Partners had $10 billion of assets under management, Blackstone said in the statement.

Strategic Partners, while still a part of Credit Suisse, closed its fifth fund on about $2.9 billion last year, though it had already been spending capital from the fund prior to the close.

Credit Suisse sold the Strategic Partners team, as well as its private equity fund of funds called Customized Fund Investment Group, in order to comply with financial reform rules that restrict banks’ ability to invest in or operate private equity funds.

Strategic Partners hits the fundraising trail just as the secondary market is heating up with deal flow. Market volume on secondaries hit records in 2011 and 2012, coming in around $25 billion each year. This year the market was thought to have been slower, with about $7 billion of deal volume coming in the first half, according to specialist investment bank Cogent Partners.

However, the tally has been disputed by another market intermediary, Setter Capital, which pegged deal activity at around $15 billion in the first half.

Forecasts for the full-year total range from $20 billion to $30 billion.

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