Private equity fundraising activity slowed considerably in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Despite this slower pace, venture capital saw the highest fundraising year since 2001 with 200 funds raising $28.5 billion. Buyout and Mezzanine funds recorded the highest year ever with 138 funds raising $102.9 billion.

“The deceleration of fundraising in private equity this quarter was expected and welcomed for a number of reasons,” said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA saidin a statement. “On the venture side, we are coming to the end of the current fundraising cycle as most firms are now turning their attention to investing the funds raised in the last three years. Additionally, the venture industry is extremely wary of bringing too much liquidity into the asset class.