All change at the top of the PEI 300

Three firms broke into the top 10 after leapfrogging a host of blue-chip players.

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Private equity continued its march towards pre-crisis levels of fundraising in 2017. With this heady environment driving some monstrous fundraises, it’s little surprise to see a flurry of dramatic shifts in the PEI 300.

Some of the most notable jumps occurred in the usually predictable top 10. Scandinavian buyout house EQT’s mammoth €10.8 billion haul for Fund VIII in February saw it jump 24 places to seventh with $42.4 billion raised over the past five years. CVC’s €15.5 billion raise for Fund VII pushed the firm to fifth in the ranking, up five places from 2017, while US tech specialist Silver Lake also climbed 14 positions to reach ninth place after collecting $15 billion for Fund V in April 2017.

The top 100 saw New York-headquartered New Mountain Capital rise 51 positions to 34th after raising $6.2 billion for its fifth flagship in September to bring its five-year total to $10.3 billion. The firm narrowly beat France’s PAI Partners, which climbed from 75 to 35 after closing Fund VIII on €5 billion in March. Hong Kong’s pan-Asia buyout and growth investor Affinity Equity Partners climbed 38 places to 36th.

Several London firms also made impressive leaps: Equistone climbed 39 places to 45th, with $7.6 billion raised over the past five years. Vitruvian rose 122 places and now sits in 86th with $4.4 billion raised, while European mid-market firm TDR Capital reached 47th, up from 128th last year, after securing €3.5 billion for its fourth flagship last year.

Buy-and-build specialist Waterland rose 97 places to 89th, with $4.1 billion raised over a five-year period. The Dutch firm made headlines in August after holding a first and final close on €2 billion for its seventh fund less than two months after launch.

And some go down

Of course, not every firm rose up the ranking. Boston-headquartered Advent International fell 13 places to 19th due to its $10 billion 2012-vintage falling out of the required time period. Leonard Green & Partners – partially acquired by Blackstone in 2017 – fell to 38th place, down from 17th the previous year. Embattled MENA investor Abraaj Group, which has recently undergone a leadership change and corporate restructuring amid an LP investigation into misuse of funds, dropped 27 places to 69th.

Hong Kong’s PAG is now 98th after placing 52nd last year. It raised $3.6 billion over five years. New York’s Rhône Group – partially acquired by French private equity house Eurazeo in November – fell 39 places to 122nd in the rankings.

Energy firms were among this year’s biggest climbers. Houston-based Post Oak Energy rose a whopping 319 places to 171st on the list. The firm – which makes equity investments in the upstream sector of North American oil and gas – closed its fourth flagship fund at its $600 million hard-cap in November. Boston’s Old Ironsides Energy rose 313 places to 176th after collecting $300 million for the 2017-vintage Old Ironsides Energy III.

China had some notable declines. China Development Bank – whose 18 billion yuan ($2.9 billion; €2.3 billion) 2012-vintage CDB Development Fund fell outside the PEI 300 calculation period – dropped from the list after placing 124th last year. China International Capital Corporation, previously 212th, also fell out of the ranking. But some Chinese firms did well: buyout GP Hopu Investment Management has raised at least $2 billion for its 2017-vintage Master Fund III, climbing 154 places to 115th in the process.