PEI Awards 2015: CVC, Ardian, Aberdeen sweep the board

More than 6,800 votes were cast by industry insiders for PEI’s annual awards, which saw serial winners and new contenders celebrated for their outstanding achievements in 2015.

CVC Capital Partners, Ardian and Aberdeen Asset Managers were big winners in Private Equity International’s 2015 Awards, taking home three prestigious awards each.

CVC was named large-cap firm of the year in Europe for the third consecutive year on the back of another busy year which saw its longer-life “strategic opportunities” fund balloon to the $5 billion mark (and counting) and make its first two investments. The firm was also recognised for its acquisition of a majority stake in German perfume and cosmetics retailer Douglas Holdings from Advent International, one of the largest private equity-backed deals in the EMEA region last year.

In Asia, CVC took home the gong for Exit of the Year for its listing of Hong Kong Broadband Network, a partial exit generating a 3.6x return on invested capital and an internal rate of return of 58 percent.

Industry goliath The Blackstone Group was named large-cap firm of the year in North America after a colossal fundraising year, closing its seventh flagship fund above its hard-cap $18 billion and its Energy Partners II on $4.5 billion.

A major fundraise also helped Baring Private Equity Asia secure the large-cap category in Asia, as well as two headline-grabbing acquisitions.

It was a huge year for fund of funds manager Ardian, which scooped the top spot in one of PEI’s new categories, Co-Investor of the Year in Europe, as well as Secondaries Firm of the Year in both Europe and the Americas. Ardian closed its fourth co-investment fund on €1.1 billion and made a dozen co-investments, as well as completing more than $5 billion in secondaries deals.

Aberdeen Asset Management – profiled in the March issue of Private Equity International – landed the top spot for fund of funds of the year in both Asia and the Americas, as well as for Firm of the Year in South-East Asia.

It was also a triple win for law firm King & Wood Mallesons, which managed to unseat 14-time winner Clifford Chance in the Law Firm of the Year in Europe (Transactions) category. As well as making it 15 in a row in the fund formations category in Europe, KWM was recognised for its fund formation prowess in Asia.

While the industry itself chooses the PEI Awards winners, there is one award given solely at the PEI editorial team’s discretion: the PEI Game Changer Award. This year the award honoured Ruulke Bagijn, the CIO of private markets at Dutch pension fund manager PGGM. In 2015 Bagijn made it clear that PGGM would not stand for continued misalignment and lack of transparency within the industry, asserting that by 2020 the pension fund would no longer be investing with managers who do not fully disclose their fees.

Over the course of the year Bagijn proved time and again her unwillingness to accept the status quo, her enthusiasm for engaging on issues at the heart of the private equity industry and her determination to do the best by PGGM’s members.

Click HERE to read our full coverage, which details which fund managers, investors, advisors and transactions took top honours and why.