Money continues to flow into private equity partnerships, despite complaints by many market observers that the industry is plagued with too many dollars seeking too few good deals.

The buyout industry is well on its way to surpassing last year's record- breaking $54.2 billion of capital raised, according to Venture Economics, a subsidiary of Securities Data Co. It reported that fund-raising in the first half reached $36.9 billion, 34% more than in the first half of 1997.

The data, measuring fund-raising at 137 partnerships, showed the average fund size rose to $112.2 million, up 42%.

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