Wiping Off The Desktop

Just a few quick notes, before heading outside to rake up the hundreds of apples that my tree has dropped (blessing, meet curse).

*** Buyouts Magazine reports that U.S.-based buyout and mezzanine funds raised approximately $140 billion over the first three quarters of 2006, compared to “just” $111 billion raised over the same period last year. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the final 2006 tally will surpass the $183 billion raised last year, which was a record in its own right. Around $42 billion of the 2006 figure comes from mega-funds, and firms like Thomas H. Lee Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Goldman Sachs all could up that total in Q4. It also is worth noting that Dow Jones has slightly different figures, with $172.2 billion raised through Q3 2006, compared to its 2005 total of $162.5 billion.

VC fund-raising, on the other hand, experienced a slow quarter, but still should end 2006 with more committed capital than in any of the past three years.

In other data, Thomson Financial and the NVCA released VC-backed M&A activity for Q3, which showed the second-straight quarter of volume decline. Couple that with the VC-backed IPO shortage discussed here last week, and you can see why alternative exits like SPAC reverse mergers are becoming more popular.

*** It’s now been nearly three months since the HCA buyout was announced, and several weeks since the 50-day window closed for competing bids. So why hasn’t the hospital giant set a shareholder meeting date? I’m not (necessarily) saying that there is a hiccup (that would be some bankers), but it is a bit odd…

*** I’ve received some inconsistent information on those joining Tom Stemberg’s new retail-focused private equity effort, but none of the suggested names have much private equity experience. Retail experience, yes. M&A experience, yes. But no PE pros yet, save for Stemberg, who is a venture partner with Highland Capital Partners. I’ll share the specifics soon, but am not certain enough yet. Apologies to those who keep asking.

*** Lots of press speculation about the next casino LBO, following this week’s news that TPG and Apollo have bid $15 billion for Harrah’s. This must be killing AA Capital Partners’ John Orecchio, who has a demonstrated affinity for all things Vegas. He and AA could have joined a future casino consortium via co-investment, if only he weren’t prevented by that pesky SEC restraining order.

*** Sad to see some good reporters go during the latest round of BusinessWeek layoffs, although I’m glad that Sarah Lacy got a book deal from Penguin (Digg cover headline or not). My own book deal will be signed… well, whenever I can find some free time to begin writing a book. How about: “Fortunes Lost: How Mega-LBO Firms Nearly Bankrupted America’s Public Pension Systems.” It’s a forward-looking piece…