(Reuters) British private equity firm Bridgepoint, owner of Pret a Manger, has raised €5.5bn (£4.9bn) for European investment, exceeding its €5bn target, a source familiar with the matter said.
The raising of its sixth European fund had been scheduled to start in early 2018 but has already been fully allocated, the source said on Wednesday.
Since the financial crisis almost a decade ago, low-interest rates and cheap debt have boosted capital piling into private equity funds by investors looking for higher returns.
But rising valuations have made it harder to achieve high returns so much of the money sits idle. A record $954bn globally, according to industry data provider Preqin.
Confidence in UK?
Prior to this its most recent fund was Bridgepoint Europe V, a €4bn middle-market buyout fund, raised in 2015, that acquires European-headquartered companies valued up to €1bn.
Sources expect the firm that was spun out of Natwest bank in 2000, to list sandwich and coffee shop chain Pret a Manger in New York next year.
In November the firm agreed to buy Britain’s Burger King franchise with 74 restaurants and prior to that British Miller Homes at a time when some private equity firms are discouraged by Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.