Bridgepoint closing in on €5bn(2)

Having come close to its €4 billion target, the European buyout firm is looking to wrap up fundraising by May.

Bridgepoint has nearly reached its €4 billion ($6.1 billion) target for its fourth fund, according to an investor confirming a report by UK newspaper Financial Times.

The firm may reach its €5 billion hard cap, the source said. Having hit the fundraising trail in September, it is looking to reach its final close some time in May.

The firm’s previous fund closed in May 2006 on €2.5 billion.

Despite the credit crunch causing European private equity deal flow to slow, Bridgepoint has remained active in the mid-market. It recently bought Pret a Manger for £345 million (€450.3 million; $685.1 million) alongside its advisor Goldman Sachs.

Bridgepoint is also selling debt purchase and collection agency 1st Credit for up to £350 million having appointed Citi as an advisor.

The firm’s progress with its fundraising comes amid signs that private equity fund formation in general is holding up well. Earlier this week, larger European buyout firm CVC Capital Partners is set to close its fund at its €12.1 billion hard cap, PEO reported yesterday. This week US buyout firm Silver Lake also wrapped up its third fund on $9.3 billion (€6.1 billion).

The ebullient fundraising climate is despite the ongoing problems in the credit markets where $200 billion of leveraged loans remain unsyndicated, according to data provider Dealogic.