Private Equity fundraising (this includes the whole spectrum of the industry – from mega buyout shops to smaller venture capital firms), nose-dived to a paltry $46 billion for the first three months of 2009, down from $125 billion just a quarter before. According to Preqin, this marks the lowest sum since $34 billion was raised in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Are we surprised? Nope. Can it go lower in Q2? Yup. Will it? There’s a damn good chance of it. Too many LPs are nursing wounds, write-downs, Ponzi schemes, liquidity issues, villagers with pitchforks, and any other ominous issues that you can think of. But also remember that despite all this, and despite the worst recession in decades, things only reverted back to Q4 2003 levels. Sadly though, this is before far too many of today’s PE pros got into the game. Their industry memories don’t go back that far. Maybe it’s time to go to the bullpen?