China's FountainVest reaches first-close in new private equity fund - source

HONG KONG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners has raised $1.6 billion to reach the first-close of its new private equity fund, one person with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

The firm is targeting to raise $2.8 billion in its fourth dollar-denominated fund with a hard cap set at $3.2 billion, said the person, declining to be named as the information is confidential.

Many existing investors re-upped their commitments in the new fund and the firm aims to complete the fundraising in the first half next year, the person said.

FountainVest declined to comment.

The firm, led by former Temasek and Goldman Sachs dealmaker Frank Tang, joins a slew of global and regional private equity houses that are raising new funds as Asia gradually recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.

Asia-focused Hillhouse Capital Group is raising a $13 billion new dollar fund as well as over $3 billion in a yuan fund, Reuters has reported.

U.S.-based KKR & Co also said in October it already amassed over $13 billion in its flagship Asia private equity fund.

Founded in 2007, FountainVest has been an avid investor in China’s media and entertainment, sports and consumer-related sectors.

In June, it led a $750 million fundraising of online tutoring startup Zuoyebang as the COVID-19 crisis spurs investor interest in education technology. In 2018, the firm teamed up with China’s ANTA Sports and internet giant Tencent Holdings to buy Finland’s Amer Sports, which owns a range of sports brands including Wilson and Arc’teryx, for $5.2 billion.

FountainVest’s portfolio also include gym operator The Pure Group, film ticketing and distribution firm Maoyan and pharmacy chain LBX.

The firm raised $2.1 billion in its last fund in 2016. It made its name in 2012 when it joined Carlyle Group and other Chinese investors in the $3.7 billion buyout of then U.S.-listed advertising firm Focus Media. (Reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)