Blackstone nears finish line for latest fund
* Close of fund-raising scheduled for Wednesday
* Told investors earlier in year $9 bln raised for BCP VI
* Investors not yet updated on final number
By Megan Davies
NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N) is close to finishing fund-raising for its sixth global buyout fund, raised during one of the toughest periods to ask investors for cash.
The buyout firm has been targeting Wednesday, June 30, to close -- or finish raising capital for -- the multibillion dollar fund. Investors have not yet been informed what the total amount raised is, one source familiar with the matter said, but a close on Wednesday is still scheduled.
New York-based Blackstone told investors earlier this year it had raised about $9 billion so far for the fund, BCP VI, and a source familiar with the situation in April told Reuters it was targeting a number a few billion dollars higher than that.
That contrasts with its giant fifth fund, BCP V, a $21.7 billion fund it finished fund-raising for in the summer of 2007, which is invested in companies such as Nielsen, Freescale Semiconductor and Hilton Hotels.
Blackstone declined comment.
Private equity firms raise capital from investors such as pension and endowment funds. They typically spend several years investing that capital by buying companies, with the aim of selling or floating those assets and generating an outsized return.
Since the credit crisis squeezed investors' purse strings, the time it has taken to raise funds has lengthened and the amount firms have been able to raise has slid.
Pension and endowment investors, who took a large hit on their equity portfolios, have been unwilling to commit fresh capital. Buyout firms also had less need for capital as fewer deals were done.
Blackstone began raising BCP VI about two years ago -- an increasingly tough period to ask investors for cash. It did not publicly disclose a target when it started raising the fund, although research from Preqin dated 2008 put the target at $20 billion.
Blackstone itself has committed up to $750 million to the fund, it told investors in a recent presentation obtained by Reuters. That means it will likely be the largest investor in the fund, the presentation said.
The company in addition has a vast amount of "dry powder" -- capital available for investment -- from previous funds raised. It said in April it had $27 billion of dry powder to invest, of which $3 billion was in BCP V.
(Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
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