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Thomas H. Lee
Thomas H. Lee
THL is embroiled in a legal battle over the unraveling of its proposed $27 billion buyout of Clear Channel.
2008 Rank: 12
2007 Rank: 10
Recent buyout fundraising: $10.1 billion

THL's most recent buyout fund is the largest ever raised at the Boston firm, and it's also the first since founder and namesake Tommy Lee officially decamped to start his own shop in 2006. "This is the first real fund without Tommy around," says Howard Anderson, a lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management and a former venture capitalist. "But it's not like [the new presidents] are the new kids on the block and have to learn the words." Co-president Scott Schoen adds that the firm was quiet in 2007 because it felt the market had become too frothy.

Headwind issue: THL is caught in a messy legal battle with six banks over the unraveling of its proposed $27 billion buyout of Clear Channel Communications in 2006. THL and Bain Capital are accusing the banks of backing out of the deal once the credit crunch started; the banks have countersued.

Worth noting: Schoen helped his Yale classmate, bestselling novelist Joseph Finder, get the details right in his 2005 corporate thriller Company Man.

NEXT: Madison Dearborn
Last updated July 28 2008: 4:28 PM ET
Source: Rankings are based on a firm's most recently raised buyout fund(s). Fortune looked at data from Capital IQ, institutional investors, and the companies themselves to determine the size of the most recently raised buyout funds. For some firms that means a fund that was raised in 2007; for others it might be 2006. Whatever the date, the most recent fund was the one we counted. In the case of companies that raise multiple funds simultaneously as opposed to raising a single fund at a time, we chose to count only those private equity funds that were not raised in public markets and that were earmarked for buyouts (as opposed to investments in debt, venture capital, or other ventures).
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