Quien Es Mas Macho? A Slideshow of the Top 5 U.S. PE Funds this Year

Fundraising is hard this year.

Among the reasons for the difficulty, I’ve been told, are that there are so many firms out marketing, large buyout funds are no longer in vogue and LPs are narrowing their commitments.

As of November, 757 U.S.-based GPs were in the market seeking a combined $379.9 billion, according to Preqin. That’s a big increase from the same time last year, when 666 American funds were seeking $287.4 billion.

Despite the rough PE waters, several firms have successfully raised funds. Here’s a look at the top five PE fundraisers so far this year, according to Preqin. (Not included in the mix are VC, real estate or secondaries funds.) In the spirit of keeping things fun, we are rating each firm on a “macho” scale, taking a tip from Bill Murray’s old SNL game show, “¿Quien es Mas Macho?”

[slideshow]

[slide title=”No. 5: GTCR”]

Philip Canfield, a GTCR principal
Philip Canfield, a GTCR principal

In February, GTCR announced the close of its 10th buyout fund, which raised more than $3.25 billion in commitments. The Chicago-based PE firm’s efforts are noteworthy since GTCR Fund X LP surpassed its $3 billion target.

GTCR’s ninth fund, which collected $2.75 billion in 2006, has a net IRR of 2.61%, according to June 30 data from the Washington State Investment Board. Fund VIII shows more positive results, with a net IRR of 26.74%, Washington State says. (Washington also invested in fund X.)

Rating: MACHO

[slide title=”No. 4: ArcLight Capital Partners”]

Robb Turner, ArcLight co-founder
Robb Turner, ArcLight co-founder

Earlier this month, energy-focused ArcLight Capital Partners closed its fifth fund with $3.3 billion in commitments. This pool came in way above target ($2 billion). It’s also  bigger than fund IV, which raised $2.1 billion in 2007.

It wasn’t easy, though. ArcLight took more than 24 months to reach a final close and the firm had to travel to new and exotic locales to find LPs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rating: MUY MACHO.

[slide title=”No. 3: EnCap Investments”]

In January, EnCap raised $3.5 billion for its eighth “upstream” fund, which will invest in companies that drill and produce oil and gas. EnCap came in significantly ahead of its $2.5 billion target for the pool.

David Miller, an EnCap co-founder and a managing partner, told peHUB at the time that the firm spent nine to 10 months marketing for EnCap Energy Capital Fund VIII. By contrast, the buyout shop spent roughly four to six months raising each of its last four to five funds, he said.

The new fund has already posting a 5.3% IRR since inception, according to March 31 data from CalSTRS. EnCap’s seventh fund has a 17.96% IRR and its sixth fund has an IRR of 24.7% IRR, CalSTRS said.

Rating: MUY MUY MACHO

[slide title=”No. 2: Centerbridge Capital Partners”]

Jeff Aronson, Centerbridge co-founder
Jeff Aronson, Centerbridge co-founder

Centerbridge Capita raised $4.4 billion in August, well ahead of its $3.75 billion target. (Park Hill Group was the placement agent.)

Jeffrey Aronson, an ex-Angelo, Gordon partner, and Mark Gallogly, formerly a senior MD at Blackstone, founded Centerbridge Partners in 2006.

The firm’s first PE fund, Centerbridge Capital Partners LP, raised $3.2 billion in 2006. It has a 21.89% IRR since inception, according to CalSTRS.

Rating: MUCHO MAS MACHO

[slide title=”No. 1: Berkshire Partners”]

Berkshire has raised the most of any PE firm this year. For that, they are the most macho this year.

In July, the Boston-based PE firm closed its eighth fund with $4.5 billion in commitments. That was ahead of its $4 billion target. What is more amazing is that Berkshire only began fundraising in January.

Berkshire’s previous pool, fund VII, raised $3.1 billion in 2006. That vehicle has produced a net IRR of 6.8%, according to March 31 data from CalPERS.

Rating: SUPER MACHO

[/slideshow]