ECI Partners Said to Target $801 Million for Latest Fund

ECI Partners LLP, the U.K.-based private-equity firm, is planning to raise as much as 500 million pounds ($801 million) for a new fund next year, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

ECI, which was established in 1976, is interviewing advisers to help with the new pool of capital, with investment banks Evercore Partners Inc. and Lazard Ltd. among those bidding for the job, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The fundraising could begin in the first quarter of 2014, the person said.

The effort will be the largest attempted by the London and Manchester, England-based firm, which typically buys companies valued between 10 million pounds and 150 million pounds, according to its website. ECI’s previous fund, ECI 9 LP, closed on 437 million pounds in 2008 and is about 70 percent invested, the person said.

Thirty-one buyout funds closed in the third quarter of 2013 globally, securing $27.9 billion, down from the $57.5 billion in the previous quarter, according to London-based data provider Preqin Ltd. The average time a firm spends raising a fund is now 18.4 months, compared with 17.8 months in 2012 and 11.3 months in 2006, Preqin said.

Private-equity firms typically pool money from pension plans and endowments with a mandate to buy companies within five to six years, then sell them and return the money and a profit after 10 years. They usually charge a management fee of as much as 2 percent and keep 20 percent of the profits from investments.

Spokesmen for ECI and Lazard declined to comment. An Evercore spokesman didn’t respond to an e-mail request seeking comment.

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