For its flagship private equity fund, Vista Equity Partners is seeking $12 billion. According to the Wall Street Journal, the software investor closed its sixth fund on $11 billion about a year ago. In addition, around three years ago, the firm closed its fifth fund on $5.8 billion. Since Vista Equity Partners is a cash powerhouse, it has been seeking out new deals rather quickly.
For instance, Vista made 44 new investments last year. In 2013, it made 17 deals. Things seem to be moving quite fast. While $12 billion sounds like a massive milestone, it isn't the largest. Last April, Silver Lake made history by closing its most recent fund at $15 billion.
And, the Silver Lake deal was widely publicized as something for other PE’s to reach and match. It showed that it could be done. If a fund surpasses Silver Lake’s execution, it would be a sign of more good things to come in this space.
Both Silver Lake and Thoma Bravo are in a select group of firms specializing in software that are helping lead the Private Equity fundraising boom. It feels like the late 90s again.
Thoma Bravo was launched and founded in 1998 by Carl Thoma and Bryan Cressey. Then, in 2008, Orlando Bravo took over Cressey's partnership. This changed the firm's name to Thoma Bravo. Vista Equity Partners was formed by Robert Smith in 1998. Smith previously worked on the tech team at Goldman Sachs.
Furthermore, 1999 was the same year tech investors Glenn Hutchins, Roger McNamee, Dave Roux, and Jim Davidson formed Silver Lake. At Silver Lake's launch, famous contributors included Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison.
All this funding is going to make the market’s head explode, but, in a good way. If we’re partying like it’s 1999 again, bring it on. Let’s just hope there isn’t a bubble on the horizon.