Goldman Gets Bragging Rights

Goldman Sachs may not have Henry Kravis’ respect, but it does have something else that Kravis covets: The largest private equity fund ever raised.

The Wall Street titan today announced that it has closed its sixth GS Capital Partners fund with $20 billion in capital commitments, which easily tops the $18.1 billion that Blackstone had raised through its S-1 filing last month. On the other hand, 45% of the Goldman haul came from itself and its employees – and I’d be stunned if Blackstone hasn’t topped the Goldman figure within a few months. And perhaps ditto for Carlyle Group (although a few more than a few months).

To be clear, this is all more about ego than investment capacity. After all, there isn’t much practical discrepancy between a $15 billion and $20 billion fund — particularly considering how little GP equity really goes into deals nowadays (compared to leverage and, now, LP co-invest). But remember this: Anyone mega-LBO pro who says he doesn’t care about having the largest fund is two things: (1) A liar. (2) Someone who doesn’t have the largest fund.