BC Partners Ltd., the owner of Fitness First gyms, may seek more than 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) for its leveraged buyout fund after almost reaching its initial target, three people with knowledge of the plan said.
The firm told its investors yesterday it will probably meet its original target of 6 billion euros next week, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. BC Partners may then seek as much as 500 million euros more, bringing it to the fund’s so-called hard cap, the maximum amount the firm told its investors it would seek, they said.
BC Partners was among the first European leveraged buyout firms to return to investors, or limited partners, for money since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. in September 2008. Investors have less money to commit to new funds following the financial crisis and are becoming more selective about which funds they back, according to Armando D’Amico, head of Acanthus, a firm that helps firms raise funds.
“The context for fundraising is very difficult,” D’Amico said at the Capital Creation conference in Monte Carlo this week. “But some funds are doing very well.”
London-based BC has since been followed by EQT Partners AB, Apax Partners LLP, Cinven Ltd. and Permira Advisers LLP, which started raising funds for Europe this year.
Investors say they’re planning to reduce pledges to the largest of the new pools and invest in fewer of them, partly because they haven’t received enough money back from previous funds to match commitments during the boom years. Almost 90 percent of limited partners won’t commit to some of their existing fund managers, in part because they don’t have the capital available, a June survey by investment firm Coller Capital Ltd. showed.
Officials at BC Partners declined to comment.