Private equity fund-raising hits the skids

March 31, 2011, 6:17 PM UTC

Source: Preqin

Private equity deal-making may be on the rise, but private equity fund-raising is a very different story.

Research firm Preqin this morning sent over preliminary Q1 data, showing that it was the slowest quarter for final fund closes since Q3 2003. Only 89 funds held final closes last quarter, raising a measly $39.9 billion. Venture funds led with 26 final closes, followed by buyout (20) and real estate vehicles (16). Typical time from fund launch to final close has expanded to 20 months.

The only silver lining here is that Q1 might actually represent a nadir, due to Preqin’s methodology. The company only counts a fund once its final close has occurred, even through there often are several interim closes along the way. This leads to a bit of lag, particularly given that Preqin also reports there are 1,649 funds currently in market, with a target of nearly $663 billion.

I’m obviously not saying that all of those vehicles will reach the finish line any time soon — if at all — but there clearly is a pipeline large enough to push future quarterly totals past the paltry figure of 89…