Madison Dearborn Partners has set an ambitious $5 billion target for its fifth private equity fund, and to help raise that cash, the venerable Chicago firm – the toast between the coasts – has embarked on some serious globe-trotting in search of international partners. According to the Chicago Tribune, Madison's first foray into the foreign legion of money holders is coming just as institutional investors worldwide are looking for new p.e opportunities – and may find themselves turned away by giants such as Kolhlberg Kravis Roberts or The Blackstone Group, and turned on by lesser known firms. MDP reportedly has sent emissaries to the Far East, the Near East, Europe and Australia in search of interested parties. The time appears to be ripe for such activity. "Hardly a week goes by that I don't get a call from European investors," Lee Mitchell of a smaller Chicago private equity firm, Thoma Cressey Equity Partners, told The Tribune. "And if it's happening in Chicago, it's happening even more along the East Coast."