U.S. private equity firms raised $113.4 billion in 117 funds in the first six months of 2017, compared to $209 billion raised by 281 funds in all of 2016, according to data released Thursday by PitchBook.
If the investment pace continues, total capital raised could meet or exceed 2007, the all-time high point of private equity fundraising when $267 billion was raised by 308 funds. Half of the funds closed in the first half of 2017 were megafunds that raised $5 billion or more in capital.
Private equity funds are getting larger, with the median fund size of $275.1 million in the first six months of the year up from $225 million in 2016. The median size of a buyout fund grew to $265 million in the first half of this year from $250 million in 2016. The average time to close a private equity fund declined to 12.3 months from 15.2 months in 2016, and buyout funds to 10.8 months in the first half from 14.3 months in 2016.
At the same time, exits are harder to come by with $85.75 billion in the value of companies exited in 470 private equity deals, down from $321 billion in 852 deals in all of 2016.
What's more, there was a decline in the number of U.S. private equity firms to 4,248 in 2016 from 4,304 in 2015, at the same time as the total assets under management reached the all-time high of $1.47 trillion as of Dec. 31, up 4.1% from year-end 2015. PitchBook's report attributed the decline in the number of private equity firms alongside the increase in combined AUM to mergers of financial services firms, including private equity firms over the last few years, citing the 2017 acquisition of Fortress Investment Group by SoftBank Group and Blackstone Group's acquisition of Strategic Partners from Credit Suisse in 2013.
The number of private equity firms dropped to 4,248 in 2016 from 4,304 in 2015.