Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) today announced that it has raised $1.1 billion for U.S. middle market buyout investments. Carlyle Equity Opportunity Fund (CEOF) targets control investments in middle market companies requiring equity capital of $25 million to $150 million per transaction. The fundraising effort exceeded Carlyle’s goal of $1 billion. “We are gratified by the strong investor demand for this fund, particularly given the challenging fundraising market. We see incredible opportunities in this large and under-served market and have a great team to pursue them,” said Rodney Cohen, Managing Director and Co-head of the U.S. middle market investment team. “The fund is off to a great start, with four investments in thriving middle market companies, each of which leverages Carlyle’s industry expertise and global network.” CEOF builds on Carlyle’s more than two decades of investing more than $3.4 billion in 64 transactions in the mid-market buyout space. To date, the 14-person CEOF team has invested more than 20% of the fund in four transactions: Philadelphia Energy Solutions (formerly Sunoco Refinery); Dynamic Precision Group, an aerospace component manufacturer; Worldstrides, a provider of educational student travel programs and Service King, the largest collision repair multi-shop operator in Texas and the third largest in the United States. Brooke Coburn, Managing Director and Co-head of the U.S. middle market investment team, said, “Carlyle’s strong, 25-year track record in smaller buyouts, together with the competitive advantages from Carlyle’s global reach, extensive portfolio company holdings and dedicated industry teams, position us to make attractive investments, including our recent investment in Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which saved Sunoco’s Philadelphia refinery.” A previous fund, Carlyle U.S. Growth Fund III, a $605 million fund launched in 2006, focused on venture capital and smaller buyouts. CEOF was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.