PEI Awards 2018: KKR, EQT and Blackstone dominate

Growth investing is front and centre in this year’s awards as veteran winners were joined by new faces.

Growth investing was the name of the game last year in Private Equity International’s 2018 Awards as the strategy’s experts rose to the fore and some of the industry’s biggest names made strides into the space.

Late-stage investor Insight Venture Partners took home the award for Fundraise of the Year in the Americas on the back of the $6.3 billion final close of its 10th fund. It also picked up Technology Firm of the Year in the global category. Read about it and all the global winners here.

Industry giant Blackstone set itself on a path last year towards a greater focus on growth investment. The firm – which scooped three gongs, including Large-Cap Firm of the Year in North America – acquired global life sciences investment firm Clarus to launch Blackstone Life Sciences, and poached growth guru Jon Korngold from General Atlantic to launch a dedicated growth equity platform. You can read about it and all the Americas winners here.

KKR – the most prolific winner among GPs for the second year running – was awarded Healthcare Private Equity Firm of the Year. Having closed its debut healthcare growth vehicle on $1.45 billion at the end of 2017, the firm sealed some headline-grabbing transactions across the globe last year.

The firm also takes home three awards in Asia-Pacific. KKR has been vocal in its dedication to Asia and the role it sees the region playing for the firm over the long term. With $9.3 billion of dry powder to put to work, KKR pulled off some landmark deals in 2018, including Taiwan’s first private equity take-private – of leading speciality chemicals producer LCY Chemical at a market cap of $1.6 billion – and one of India’s largest buyouts, the $510 million acquisition of Ramky Enviro Engineers. You can read about KKR’s activities in the region and all the Asia-Pacific winners here.

Scandi powerhouse EQT dominated in Europe, picking up three awards, including for Fundraise and Large-Cap Firm of the Year. The firm bookended the year with a massive fund close – the €10.75 billion EQT VIII – and enacting its succession plan. Read about EQT’s activities and all the EMEA winners here.

The PEI Awards remain the only awards in the industry decided solely by the industry. The shortlists are drawn up in November by our global edit team who canvas the views of colleagues and contacts in the market to find out which firms, funds and deals stood out during the year. We also solicited nominations for the 71 categories. The four-strong shortlist was opened up to voting in early December and included a fifth write-in box, in case readers felt we had left anyone out.

The one award not put to the reader vote is our Private Equity Game Changer Award, given at the discretion of the editorial team. This year we pay tribute to TPG’s Bill McGlashan, who founded the firm’s growth investing arm and the Rise Fund, its impact investment vehicle.

While those in the know have been championing impact investment for a decade, the strategy really captured the industry’s imagination – and, most importantly, institutional capital – in 2018, and we anticipate its share of the market will only grow in 2019 and beyond.

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