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
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 $2.08 billion in that time to secure a spot in the ranking.
|2023 rank||Fund Manager||Headquarters||Amount raised ($m)|
|5||The Carlyle Group||Washington DC||69,681|
|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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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