(Bloomberg) -- Carlyle Group Inc. is preparing to raise its biggest-ever European buyout fund, taking advantage of a rush of capital into private equity firms, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The U.S. investment firm could aim to raise around 7.5 billion euros ($8.5 billion) for its Carlyle Europe Partners VI fund, one of the people said. It plans to start fundraising efforts later this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle hasn’t set a formal target for the new fund, and details could change, the people said. A representative for Carlyle declined to comment. 

The last 12 months have been a buoyant period for the private equity industry, with many of Carlyle’s peers raking in ever-larger money pools while dealmaking by buyout firms hit the highest level in years. Last year’s frenetic pace of acquisitions came after investors spent much of 2020 adjusting to the impact of Covid-19. 

Carlyle raised 6.4 billion euros for its fifth European fund in 2019. It used the pool for deals including a purchase of Siemens AG’s mechanical-drive unit Flender valued at more than 2 billion euros. It also made a bid in August for Schaltbau Holding AG, a technology supplier for rail infrastructure, valuing the German company at about 584 million euros.

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