Another quarter, another record. The first three months of the year saw private equity drive the global mergers and acquisitions market to even greater heights, as $197 billion (€147 billion) of buyout deals boosted the total figure well above the $1 trillion mark.
The figure is actually even higher if all private equity related activity is taken into account. The total value of all private equity-backed M&A – also including add-ons and exits – was $253.9 billion, an 80 percent increase on 2006.
The overall figure was boosted by the $43.8 billion deal agreed for US utility TXU in February by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG, which if it completes will be the biggest leveraged buyout to date. As a result of this mega-deal, utility and energy was the sector with the highest volume, topping $50 billion for the quarter for the first time thanks to 15 deals.
In fact, KKR accounted for three of the biggest four deals recorded in the quarter – the number also includes its prospective £10.1 billion deal for UK health and beauty chain Alliance Boots, and the $7.3 billion acquisition of US retailer Dollar General.
KKR’s biggest rival The Blackstone Group was also busy during the quarter – with deals including the $3.3 billion buyout of US-based Cardinal Health, Blackstone paid out $75 million in advisory fees, more than any other firm.
Inevitably Goldman Sachs reaped the greatest rewards, topping the global advisory rankings. It was involved in buyout deals totalling $114.5 billion during the quarter.
Both Europe and the US saw a huge increase in deal volume. US volume hit $122 billion, a 95 percent increase on the previous year, while European volume was up 77 percent to $63.3 billion. Over half of this total came from UK deals, which accounted for a massive $35.2 billion – more than eight times the equivalent number for 2006.