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PEI 300: The world’s largest private equity firms

Though today’s fundraising conditions may be less than ideal, they haven’t put a dampener on the industry’s biggest capital-raisers. The 2023 edition of the PEI 300 – which measures the fundraising totals of the biggest private equity firms over the past five years – sees a record-breaking overall total, while also marking the first time three firms have broken the $100 billion mark. In a market plagued by reduced allocations, this is no mean feat.

PEI 300 OVERVIEW

A returning winner takes the PEI 300 crown this year, dethroning KKR after its first win in 2022. Blackstone raised a whopping $125.6 billion over the past five years, marking the sixth time it has come out on top over the past decade. Its total is a 52 percent increase on last year, when it came in $44 billion below KKR’s all-time PEI 300 record of $126.5 billion.

The top 300 private equity firms raised $3.13 trillion between them, marking a jump of $530 billion from last year. It’s clear, then, that the fundraising lull ongoing in the private markets hasn’t made a dent in firms’ long-term tallies just yet. However, if such conditions continue, future iterations of the list may look very different.

While spirits remain high across the list as a whole, firms in the Asia-Pacific region are facing some difficulties. As appetites for the region’s largest PE market begin to lessen, mainland China and Hong Kong-headquartered firms suffered from a reduced presence on the PEI 300: more than two-thirds of firms in these markets faced a lower ranking this year. This compares with Europe, which (in spite of a war and a rapidly tightening monetary policy) amassed $592 billion over the past five years – an all-time high for the region. Depending on how the fundraising winds shift over the coming months, APAC may have to rely on a handful of well-performing firms in order to maintain its fundraising efforts.

AN INTERACTIVE LOOK AT THE PEI 300

Dive into our interactive report to find out more about the world’s largest private equity firms, including:

  • the changing face of the PEI 300
  • total capital raised
  • the PEI 300 by region
  • capital raised by GP HQ, and more…

INSIDE THE PEI 300

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PEI 300 | TOP 10 BIGGEST PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS

The PEI 300 measures the amount of private equity capital raised over the five years to 31 March 2023. This year, firms needed to have raised a minimum $2.08 billion in that time to secure a spot in the ranking.

This 2023 PEI 300 list marks the first time that three firms – Blackstone, KKR and EQT – have exceeded the $100 billion mark. Only last year, KKR was the first firm to break the same barrier.

2023 rank Fund Manager Headquarters Amount raised ($m)
1 Blackstone New York 125,612
2 KKR New York 103,713
3 EQT Stockholm 101,660
4 Thoma Bravo Chicago 74,093
5 The Carlyle Group Washington DC 69,681
6 TPG Fort Worth 54,965
7 Advent International Boston 52,939
8 Hg London 51,046
9 General Atlantic New York 48,696
10 Warburg Pincus New York 48,534

PEI 300 METHODOLOGY

The 2023 PEI 300 ranking is based on the amount of private equity direct investment capital raised from third-party investors by firms for funds closed between 1 January 2018 and 31 March 2023, as well as capital raised for funds in market at the end of the counting period.

Private equity
For purposes of the PEI 300, the definition of private equity is capital raised for a dedicated programme of investing directly into businesses. This includes equity capital for diversified private equity, buyouts, growth equity, venture capital and turnaround or control-orientated distressed investment capital. 

Capital raised
This means capital definitively committed to a private equity direct investment programme. In the case of a fundraising, it means the fund has had a final or official interim close after 1 January, 2018. We count the full amount of a fund if it has a close after this date, and we count the full amount of an interim close that has occurred recently, even if no official announcement has been made. We also count capital raised through co-investment vehicles and other separate accounts that either invest alongside their main fund or are stand-alone, as long as these are not deal-by-deal fundraises. 

What does NOT count as private equity?
Funds of funds, as well as funds that follow a secondaries, real estate, infrastructure, hedge fund, debt or mezzanine strategy, and PIPEs. 

The PEI 300 is not a performance ranking, nor does it constitute investment recommendations.

PEI 300 | PREVIOUS RANKINGS

At a time when fundraising congestion has left many PE firms fighting over a finite pool of LP capital, standing out from the crowd is no mean feat. It’s all the more impressive, then, that this year’s leading firm has taken the PEI 300 top spot for the first time, but has done so by an enormous margin.

After eight years in the top three, KKR has dethroned Blackstone, which had sat comfortably in pole position since 2019 and, in total, for five of the past 10 years. This year, however, KKR’s record-breaking sum of $126.5 billion exceeded Blackstone’s $82.46 billion tally by more than 53 percent. It also accounted for more than 20 percent of the fundraising total for the entire top 10, driven to some extent by the $19 billion final close of its largest-ever fund – KKR North America Fund XIII – in April.

To qualify for the 2022 ranking, firms needed to raise a minimum of $1.85 billion over the past five years, compared with $1.55 billion last year and $868 million a decade ago. This year’s cadre raised $2.6 trillion between them, smashing last year’s $2.25 trillion total capital record.

Aside from the new leader, there was no shortage of fresh faces on the 2022 ranking, with 26 new entrants to the list. Six of these were China-headquartered. Overall, 48 managers in the Asia-Pacific region made it into this year’s ranking, compared with 41 in 2021. With APAC private equity funds targeting a colossal $151.6 billion between them as of April, versus $99.5 billion in Europe, according to PEI data, next year’s ranking may well shift even further east.

PEI 300 2022 COVERAGE

PODCAST: Inside 2022’s record-breaking PEI 300 ranking

PEI’s editorial team discusses how the feverish fundraising environment has contributed to the record $2.6trn raised by the world's biggest private equity firms, and where the growth is coming from.

PEI 300 2022: KKR beats the crowd to claim PE’s throne

This year’s top-ranked GP defied concerns over LP allocations, inflation and macroeconomic uncertainty to gather 53% more than the second-place firm.

PEI 300 2022: Meet the newcomers

To secure a spot on the PEI 300 this year, firms needed to have raised at least $1.85bn over the past five years – the highest total yet.

PEI 300 2022: Asia-Pacific managers stake a bigger claim

The number of Asia-Pacific firms in the PEI 300 ranking climbed by roughly 12% this year, raising $238.1 billion between them over the qualifying period.

PEI 300 2022: Tech begins to wobble after strong year

Managers with a tech focus performed well again this year. However, amid a changing macroeconomic picture, can they maintain their fundraising momentum?

PEI 300 2022: Fund of funds specialists evolve

Due to their ongoing capital-raising efforts across various direct strategies, firms active in funds of funds continue to make the PEI 300.

PEI 300 2022: Industry consolidation gathers momentum

Some of private equity’s biggest names are utilising inorganic growth as a means of cementing, or expanding, their standing in the market.

PEI 300 2022: Perpetual strategies dominate at the large end

Low-risk AUM, and steady, predictable fees are among the reasons why the longer-term approach to fundraising has gained momentum.

Pandemic? What pandemic? The latest PEI 300 shows the global health crisis did little to slow private equity fundraising with another record ranking. The 300 firms that comprise our annual ranking of the biggest fundraisers over a five-year period collected $2.25 trillion between them – a 13 percent rise on the previous year’s list.

Blackstone retains the top spot, with a five-year fundraising total of $93.2 billion – $13 billion more than KKR which was hot on its heels.

To get into the PEI 300 this year you needed to have raised at least $1.55 billion over the past five years. To break into the coveted top 10, you needed to have amassed at least $37.49 billion – a 17 percent jump on what was needed the prior year.

There was no shortage of new faces in this year’s list, with 24 firms making an entrance, including China Merchants Capital, which broke in at 27th and was the highest-ranked newcomer – a sign to incumbents that new entrants are gaining ground.

– Updated on 2 September 2021: Since compiling this year’s PEI 300, PEI has learned that Levine Leichtman Capital Partners raised capital totalling $4.49 billion during the relevant period and should have been included in the list.

PEI 300: 2021 COVERAGE

DOWNLOAD: The 2021 PEI 300 in eight charts

From new entrants to biggest risers and fallers and capital raising by region, our interactive presentation digs deeper into this year’s ranking.

VIDEO: How to get to the top of PEI 300

PEI editorial staff provide an extra layer of insight on what it takes to get to the top of the PEI 300 in this six-minute video.

PEI 300 2021: Immune response to covid

What pandemic? The industry’s 300 largest firms raised a record $2.25 trillion in fresh capital over the past five years.

PEI 300 2021: Tech cements its place at the top

Technology specialists are hot on the heels of the very largest multi-asset managers with the pandemic adding further impetus.

PEI 300 2021: Chinese venture capital gains momentum

Investors are piling capital into the country’s VC sector as the memory of its distribution problem begins to fade.

PEI 300 2021: Growth equity offers best of both worlds

A lot of capital is swirling around growth equity, a sign of the strategy’s growing appeal beyond buyouts and venture capital.

PEI 300 2021: Buy high, sell higher – the mid-market rolls on

Rising multiples have not weakened enthusiasm for a segment that has historically outperformed the rest.

PEI 300 2021: Will secondaries become the new primaries?

Eight of the top 20 largest firms in the PEI 300 already manage secondaries funds or are working on the strategy.

Strong appetite for co-investing is music to PEI 300’s ears

Apollo, Carlyle and Energy Capital Partners are among those to have raised significant capital via dedicated co-investment funds.

PEI 300 2021: China’s one-stop shops

Mega-firms in China with vast arsenals of fund strategies may soon rival those in North America.

PEI 300 2021: Six firms making their mark in this year’s ranking

The firms from across the PEI 300 that made the headlines this year.

PEI 300 2021: Methodology

How this year's ranking was created

The 2020 ranking is record-breaking. Between them, the 300 firms that make up our ranking have a five-year fundraising total of almost $2 trillion, with the top 10 accounting for $461 billion.

Blackstone is back in the top spot, with a five-year fundraising total of $96 billion, 16 percent higher than its total last year and almost $35 billion more than second-place Carlyle Group. It is mega-funds ahead of the competition.

Private equity is well-capitalised to face the economic and social trauma caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Blackstone’s Joe Baratta tells us why, at times like this, it’s a blessing to be private equity owned.

Firms now need at least $1.4 billion to get into our ranking – versus $868 million in 2010. To enter the top 100, you must have raised at least $5.4 billion, and an additional $26.7 billion to join the top 10.

PEI 300: 2020 COVERAGE

PEI 300 2020: An industry better capitalised than ever

With almost $2trn raised between them in the last five years, this year’s PEI 300 are armed and ready for the post-coronavirus rebuild.

PEI 300 2020: The decade that changed private equity

Over the last 10 years the industry has transformed from the pre-GFC leveraged buyout model to one based on building stronger business. What are the elements that went into that transformation?

PEI 300 2020: How co-investing has changed over a decade

More investors are progressing from syndicated co-investing to co-underwriting as they seek greater control over their private equity portfolios.

PEI 300 2020: This crisis will test PE’s value creation story

The global financial meltdown was a major catalyst in private equity’s move away from financial engineering. The covid-19 pandemic will show how real this move has been.

PEI 300 2020: PE learns the value of investing responsibly

The rise of ESG screening and the growth of impact investment managers has paved the way for a new breed of investors.

PEI 300 2020: If private credit goes down, it won’t be for long

The rise of private credit has changed the shape of private equity investing and necessity suggests it is here to stay.

PEI 300 2020: The case for specialised fund strategies

Outperformance, better alignment with LPs and high-quality dealflow have driven some fund managers to narrow their strategies.

PEI 300 2020: Private equity is now a liquid asset class

The evolution of the secondaries market over the past decade has brought material changes to how LPs and GPs engage with the asset class.

PEI 300 2020: Six firms making their mark

The firms from across the PEI 300 that made the headlines this year.

PEI 300 2020: Methodology

How the ranking is determined

The 2019 ranking is record-breaking. Between them, the 300 firms that make up our ranking have a five-year fundraising total of more than $1.7 trillion, with the top 10 accounting for $403 billion.

Blackstone reclaimed its position at the top of the PEI 300, with a five-year fundraising total of $82.9 billion, nearly $20 billion higher than runner-up The Carlyle Group.

As Blackstone’s Joe Baratta tells us, when you are at the top, the way to avoid deal competition is to go big.

Firms now need at least $1.2 billion to get into our ranking – versus $908 million in 2015. To enter the top 100, you must have raised at least $4.8 billion, and an additional $24 billion to join the top 10.

PEI 300: 2019 COVERAGE

PEI 300 2019: Blackstone tops ranking

It's official: a single fund family is no longer enough.

PEI 300 2019: Baratta outlines Blackstone’s competitive advantage

When you are at the top of the PEI 300, the way to avoid deal competition is to go big, Blackstone’s Joe Baratta says.

PEI 300 2019: Top 50 bank on expansion

New geographies and products boosted the leading firms' fundraising efforts.

PEI 300 2019: How to succeed in the consumer sector

Specialists in the strategy made impressive leaps in the 2019 ranking of five-year fundraising totals

PEI 300 2019: The rise of funds of funds

This year’s PEI 300 shows the strategy is far from over.

PEI 300 2019: Tech strategy helps three firms into top 20

The good times are rolling for technology and innovation-focused managers.

PEI 300 2019: The mid-market grows in Asia

The region’s growth story, urbanisation and rising middle class are luring private equity capital.

PEI 300 2019: The pulling power of impact

Profit-with-purpose has made a mark in the past year, despite recent negative headlines.

PEI 300 2019: Six firms making waves

The firms from across the PEI 300 that hit the headlines - for good or bad - this year.

PEI 300 2019: The largest funds and the LPs in them

The five largest funds raised over the last five years gathered a combined $95.3bn. Here are the LPs that made hefty commitments to more than one of them.

PEI 300 2019: methodology

How the fundraising ranking is calculated.

The 2018 ranking is record-breaking. Between them, the 300 top private equity firms that make up our ranking have a five-year fundraising total of $1.5 trillion, with the top 10 alone accounting for almost $400 billion. This is higher than ever before.

Limited partner appetite for the asset class doesn’t seem to be abating. As David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group told us, when you see enormous amounts of money going into the asset class, you have to conclude investors believe it represents a good opportunity.

And capital is continuing to concentrate on the upper echelons. The top 10 accounted for over 26.5 percent of the total capital raised, up from 23.8 percent last year and 22.9 percent in 2016.

Click below to find out who are the top 10, top 50 and top 300 private equity firms in the world.

PEI 300: 2018 COVERAGE

Carlyle reigns supreme at the top of the 2018 PEI 300

This year’s PEI 300 ranking is record-breaking and sees Carlyle snatch back the crown. Is private equity in a second golden age?

PEI 300 2018: top 50 firms visualised

European firms gained ground over their North American counterparts this year with 14 managers collecting $207bn.

PEI 300 2018: The top-ranked Asia-headquartered firms

A look at some of the climbers, fallers and newcomers in this year’s PEI 300 ranking in Asia.

PEI 300 2018 generates better IRR than last year

Analysis by tech company Bison shows this year’s returns are rising.

Risers and fallers over a decade of the PEI 300

PEI charts the progress of the 50 firms that appeared in our inaugural ranking in 2007.

Rubenstein’s take on the future as Carlyle tops 2018 PEI 300

As Carlyle is once again named the largest PE firm in the world, David Rubenstein, the architect of its fundraising success, talks about the future of private capital.

The fundamental growth of an asset class

Dramatic shifts at the top of the PEI 300 only tell us half the private equity story.

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OTHER RANKINGS

In addition to the PEI 300, Private Equity International also compile other private equity rankings.

What’s more, our sister titles also produce their own industry rankings covering private debt, infrastructure investing and private real estate.

To view the latest rankings from Private Equity International, plus those from Private Debt InvestorInfrastructure Investor and PERE, simply navigate through the sections below:

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