More money please! Record amount of PE funds hit market

Steve Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Group LP at the 2015 WEF in Davos, Switzerland.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Investors have more private equity funds than ever to choose from, but their money is likely to flow to a small group of huge managers.

An all-time high of 2,209 private equity funds is seeking $811 billion from investors, according to Palico, an online private equity marketplace. The previous record was 2,043 funds seeking $787 billion in February 2014. The record for the amount sought is $884 billion at the beginning of 2009, when 1,590 funds were in the market.

The largest PE funds raising money today, according to Palico listings, are: Blackstone Capital Partners VII (seeking $16 billion); Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII ($13 billion); Oaktree Opportunities Fund X ($10 billion); TPG Partners VII ($10 billion); Lexington Capital Partners VIII ($8 billion); Riverstone Global Energy and Power Fund VI ($7.5 billion).

After several years of high returns flowing back to investors, pensions, family offices and others are hungry for more. About $61 billion in capital has been committed to private equity funds through the first half of the first quarter of 2015, 73 percent more than the amount raised in the same period last year, according to Palico.