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Private Equity Fundraising Cools Down

After a record-setting second quarter, new commitments to private capital funds fell over the last three months – but 2017 could still finish on a high note, according to Preqin.

  • By Amy Whyte

The flood of capital pouring into private equity slowed in the third quarter, though the industry remains on track for a record fundraising year, according to Preqin.

Over the last three months, 181 private equity funds raised a total $95 billion based on preliminary data, a 31 percent drop from $138 billion in the second quarter, Preqin said in a report released Tuesday. The financial data provider expects the total to rise to about $105 billion as more information becomes available.

Fundraising activity is historically lower during the third quarter, as many managers wait until the end of the year to close funds, according to the report. Based on this trend, Preqin predicts that this year will ultimately surpass 2016 to set a new post-financial crisis fundraising record – and possibly reach 2007’s all-time high of $415 billion.

“Overall the asset class is still seeing strong levels of investor commitment,” said Christopher Elvin, Preqin’s head of private equity products, in the report. “In fact, private equity is setting a lot of records: dry powder has hit successive highs, record numbers of funds have come to market” and fundraising in the second quarter was unprecedented.

In another record, Apollo Global Management closed the largest buyout fund ever at $24.7 billion in the third quarter.

Still, sentiment toward the private equity industry appears to be shifting. Nearly half of investors surveyed by Preqin earlier this year expected returns to fall as a result of higher deal valuations, and 54 percent of private equity managers said the same in a PitchBook poll released last week.

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Meanwhile, fundraising for broader private-capital markets over the last three months fell to $150 billion, from $204 billion in the second quarter, according to Preqin. New private real-estate commitments fell with just 38 funds closing during the third quarter, the lowest number in the last five years. While the pace of fundraising for private debt is down from the record capital raised in the fourth quarter of 2016, fundraising is now at more “typical” levels, with 25 debt funds closing $20 billion of capital in the third quarter.

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