April 17 (Reuters) - Bain Capital LLC has raised $7.3 billion from investors and its dealmakers for its next flagship fund, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, underscoring the favorable fundraising environment for established private equity firms.
Bain raised $6.5 billion from outside investors, more than the $6 billion it was originally targeting but less than the $7.5 billion cap it set when it started marketing the fund more than a year and a half ago, the people said.
Bain employees committed another $800 million to the fund, dubbed Bain Capital Fund XI, bringing its final size to $7.3 billion, the sources said. Bain's previous flagship fund, Fund X, raised $10.7 billion in 2008.
Bain declined to comment.
The completion of fundraising by Bain is referred to in the private equity industry as "final close." Private equity funds reached final close on an aggregate $95 billion in the first quarter of 2014, the largest amount of capital raised since the first quarter of 2008, according to market research firm Preqin.
However, this capital was raised by only 174 funds, the lowest number of funds to reach final close during any quarter since the financial crisis, Preqin said, highlighting the competitiveness of the fundraising market as institutional investors consolidate their fund relationships.
Bain co-founder Mitt Romney's unsuccessful bid for U.S. president in 2012, just as Bain kicked off fundraising for Fund XI, put the private equity industry in an unprecedented public spotlight and fueled debate about its practice of buying and selling companies.
Bain countered that it had created hundreds of thousands of jobs during its three decades of investing and supported hundreds of charities. Bain investors contacted by Reuters in 2012, including some of the largest U.S. public pension funds, said political attacks made no difference in their assessment of Bain and that their focus was on returns and the fees charged.
Fund XI will focus on investments in North America, and will occasionally invest globally alongside Bain's European and Asian funds.
Based in Boston, Bain has more than $75 billion in assets under management. It raised $2.3 billion for its second Asia-focused private equity fund in 2012, and is currently fundraising for its fourth Europe fund, targeting 3.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion). (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)