BC Partners Raises $8.6 Billion for New European Buyout Fund

BC Partners Ltd., the British private-equity owner of gym operator Fitness First Ltd., raised 6.5 billion euros ($8.6 billion) for leveraged buyouts, surpassing its target.

BC European Capital IX, which will target controlling stakes in “defensive growth” companies, was oversubscribed and is 14 percent bigger than the previous one, the London-based firm said today in a statement.

“I am delighted with the enthusiastic response from existing and new investors from around the world, particularly in the context of a challenging fundraising environment,” Charlie Bott, head of investor relations and a managing partner, said in the statement.

BC Partners was one of the first private-equity firms in Europe to come back to investors in 2010 for a new fund after the financial crisis stymied dealmaking. Initially targeting 6 billion euros, it offered a 5 percent discount on fees for investors who committed money before its first close in early 2011, people with knowledge of the matter said then. It also agreed to end transaction fees, billed each time the firm or one of its companies make an acquisition, to lure investors at a time when lack of distributions made them reluctant to commit to new pools.

The firm said it secured “a substantial amount” of commitments from the majority of existing investors. About 40 percent was raised from backers in North America, 30 percent in Europe and 30 percent in Asia and the Middle East, it said. About 37 percent of backers are pension funds, while sovereign wealth funds make up 25 percent and fund of funds 12 percent.

Some of the largest European firms, including Apax Partners LLP, Cinven Ltd. and Permira Advisers LLP, are raising buyout funds. Private-equity firms, which are seeking $711 billion globally, raised 46 percent less in the third quarter than in the previous quarter as the European debt crisis deepened, according to London-based research firm Preqin Ltd. Meanwhile, the value of LBOs announced by private-equity firms in the second half of last year dropped 32 percent to $71.5 billion from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in London at achassany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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