Exclusive: Carlyle tops this year’s PEI 300

KKR, CVC and Apollo were also big winners in this year's ranking, which excludes pre-crisis funds for the first time.

The Carlyle Group has claimed the top spot in this year’s PEI 300, after collecting $30.6 billion in the last five years.

Compiled by our in-house Research & Analytics team, our annual ranking lists the world’s leading private equity managers by size according to a very simple metric: the amount of capital they’ve raised for direct private equity investment in the preceding five years. That means this is the first time the ranking has only included funds raised since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Although Carlyle raised less than its equivalent figure of $32.8 billion last year, it still collected enough to unseat TPG, which dropped to no. 5 after three years on the top spot.

Carlyle’s formidable fundraising team – led by co-founder David Rubenstein – had a stellar 2013, amassing a staggering $22 billion. That included $13 billion for its flagship buyout fund, which closed in November ahead of its $12 billion hard-cap.

It has also maintained this momentum into 2014. In April, Carlyle held a final close on its debut Sub-Saharan Africa Fund on $698 million, almost $200 million above its initial target of $500 million. It also aims to hold final closes for its Asia, Europe and Japan buyout funds before the end of this year.

Elsewhere, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts jumped from no. 4 to no. 2, while General Atlantic rose from no. 12 to no. 6; its five-year total of $16.6 billion was $1 billion more than its equivalent figure last year. Another notable climber was Clayton Dubilier & Rice, which went up 24 places to no. 9 after accumulating $13.9 billion in the last five years.

Apollo Global Management also jumped up the ranking – climbing to no. 4 in this year’s ranking, up from no. 8 last year, having collected $22.3 billion since the start of 2009. This was largely due to the closing of its eighth flagship buyout fund, which closed on $17.5 billion.

Success on the fundraising trail also helped Vista Equity Partners, which climbed the ranking for the third successive year, jumping to no. 48 (up from 59 in 2013). Vista closed its second fund focused on small-cap software-enabled businesses on $1.1 billion last November, well ahead of its original $500 million target, PEI reported at the time.

This year’s ranking also saw a number of notable newcomers. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) entered the PEI 300 on number 34, having raised $7.15 billion in the last five years. Other debutants included L Capital Management, which entered at no. 142 after holding an $800 million first close on its second Asia-focused vehicle in the summer, and Lima-based Nexus Group, which debuted at no. 280 after closing its second institutional fund.

In addition, MBK Partners, a Seoul-based firm, climbed to no. 50, its highest-ever position in the PEI 300. MBK’s rise was largely a function of its impressive fundraise in 2013: it attracted $2.7 billion of commitments for its third buyout fund, which focuses on investments in North Asia. When the vehicle closed in October 2013, PEI reported that it was the largest fund ever raised by a Korea-based manager.

While Asia-based funds have raised some impressive funds, the region also contributed substantially to the fundraising totals of the largest global houses. For instance, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts closed its second Asia-focused fund in July 2013 on $6 billion – the largest ever raised for the region.

This trend is likely to continue, as Carlyle, TPG and CVC are all currently in the market, targeting between $3 billion and $3.5 billion for their latest pan-Asian offerings. Carlyle also has a $1 billion Japan fund in the market, which held a first close last August.

Click here for this year’s PEI 300.