UPDATE 1-Private equity firm Ardian raises largest ever fund of funds

Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:33am EDT

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LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - European private equity house Ardian raised $10 billion in its latest fundraising cycle, it said on Wednesday, creating the industry's largest ever fund of funds as investors pile into private equity.

The firm's sixth-generation fund is composed of $9 billion from its secondary buyout and expansion platform, and another $1 billion in primary commitments.

Secondary deals allow private equity companies to buy businesses from one another.

In 2012, Ardian raised $8 billion for its fifth fund of funds. A fund of funds puts investor money into selected private equity funds around the world.

Top private equity houses have attracted increasingly large sums from investors hungry for returns, with the industry sitting on $1 trillion in unspent capital, or "dry powder" this year.

But the sector has been pressured by competition from strong equity markets, which have seen some companies opting to float rather than be bought out by private equity, and corporations paying huge sums for businesses. (Reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Clare Hutchison and Mark Potter)

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