The formulas, tricks and trade secrets of Private Equity

Top 50 Private Equity Firms

Sample Chapter

You’d imagine the top private equity firms (as measured by fundraising) change year-to-year. However, if you compare the 2011 and 2009 lists from PE media, you’d see few changes, especially in the top 10. In fact, the top 4 haven’t changed in ranking at all.

What’s interesting, until you take the GFC into account, is that the amounts raised in the five years up to 2009 were slightly higher that that raised by the top private equity firms in 2001. There’s lots of speculation about the GFC putting so-called ‘pump-and-dump’ strategies into question, but I’ve talked at length about the resilience of top private equity firms; they really are self-fulfilling machines with more than enough wherewithal to weather a downturn in sentiment.

Rank Move Firm $m Raised (5yrs)
1 Up TPG Capital Fort Worth (Texas) $50,553.20
2 Down Goldman Sachs Principal Investment Area New York $47,224.00
3 Down The Carlyle Group Washington DC $40,540.94
4 Down Kohlberg Kravis Roberts New York $40,215.90
5 Up The Blackstone Group New York $36,418.68
6 Down Apollo Global Management New York $33,813.00
7 Up Bain Capital Boston $29,402.69
8 Down CVC Capital Partners London $25,068.77
9 Up First Reserve Corporation Greenwich (Connecticut) $19,063.50
10 Up Hellman & Friedman San Francisco $17,200.00
11 Down Apax Partners London $16,637.67
12 Up General Atlantic Greenwich (Connecticut) $15,100.00
13 Down Warburg Pincus New York $15,000.00
14 Stable Cerberus Capital Management New York $14,900.00
15 Down Advent International Boston $14,519.51
16 Stable Permira London $13,572.40
17 Up Oaktree Capital Management Los Angeles $13,045.97
18 Up Terra Firma Capital Partners London $12,249.90
19 Down Providence Equity Partners Providence (Rhode Island) $12,100.00
20 Down Clayton Dubilier & Rice New York $11,404.00
21 Up Charterhouse Capital Partners London $11,268.08
22 Down Teachers’ Private Capital Toronto $10,758.62
23 Up Madison Dearborn Partners Chicago $10,600.00
24 Up TA Associates Boston $10,547.50
25 Up Silver Lake Menlo Park $10,500.00

If you’re looking to enter the world of private equity, don’t be fooled into thinking you have to limit yourself to top private equity firms. There are thousands of PE firms all over the world, and at the top, you’re subjecting yourself to a single style of private equity, namely, mega-investing. That means investing mostly in public companies and having close to nothing to do with the operations of those companies.

Under the top private equity firms listed here, you have many smaller firms that benefit from proprietary access to deals due to less focus at the smaller end of town. These firms are often called mid-market firms, because they deal in mid-market sized investments. These can still be top PE companies in their own right, just in a different space, which may pay less, but is also considered much more rewarding due to great hands-on interaction with portfolio businesses.

26 Up Lone Star Funds Dallas $10,410.00
27 Up Thomas H. Lee Partners Boston $10,100.00
28 Up Cinven London $10,033.80
29 Stable Riverstone Holdings New York $9,674.00
30 Up JC Flowers & Co. New York $9,300.00
31 Stable AXA Private Equity Paris $9,027.22
32 Up AlpInvest Partners Amsterdam $8,867.98
33 Up 3i Group London $8,732.76
34 Up Nordic Capital Stockholm $8,732.76
35 Down Fortress Investment Group New York $8,680.00
36 Up EnCap Investments Houston $8,472.80
37 Up Onex Partners Toronto $8,338.14
38 Up Lindsay Goldberg New York $7,870.95
39 Down Citi Capital Advisors New York $7,797.00
40 Up Ares Management Los Angeles $7,786.44
41 Up Summit Partners Boston $7,749.94
42 Down Bridgepoint London $7,717.69
43 Up Marfin Athens $7,310.17
44 Up EQT Partners Stockholm $7,200.21
45 Down NGP Energy Capital Management Dallas $7,107.00
46 Up Energy Capital Partners Short Hills (New Jersey) $6,585.00
47 Up Stone Point Capital Greenwich (Connecticut) $6,398.00
48 Up Abraaj Capital Dubai $6,203.90
49 New Golden Gate Capital San Francisco $6,114.00
50 Up GTCR Golder Rauner Chicago $6,000.00

This list comes from the PE media list. I’ve only shown the top 50 private equity firms here because you can see the rest at PEM. It will be interesting to see if fundraising rises any time soon and if the PE style of investment carries on far into the future.

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