Large-Cap Firm of the Year in Europe

1. CVC Capital Partners
2. EQT
3. Nordic Capital

CVC Capital Partners commanded the top spot in this award category for a second consecutive year, although it faced stiff competition from EQT. The firm’s highlights in 2021 include 28 investments and eight exits, including deals involving Six Nations Rugby, Sonae MC, RiverStone International, RAC, Breitling, Volleyball World and Unilever’s tea business Ekaterra. The private equity giant also announced its acquisition of secondaries firm Glendower Capital in September 2021.

Mid-Cap Firm of the Year in Europe

1. Apax Partners
2. Triton Partners
3. IK Partners

Paris-based Apax Partners prevailed over its competitors to snag its first ever award in this category. The firm closed on a €1.6 billion hard-cap for its 10th mid-market fund in July, a vehicle 60 percent larger than its predecessor. As well as completing new deals, the firm was also busy with realisations, generating €1.2 billion of proceeds across its mid-cap funds since summer 2020. It also launched FCPR APEO, an evergreen and open-end fund targeting the French retail market, as well as its Philanthropy Fund, which finances non-profit organisations.

Limited Partner of the Year in EMEA

1. Mubadala Capital
2. Public Sector Pension Investments
3. Bpifrance

Picking up its first award for Limited Partner of the Year in EMEA is Mubadala Capital, the asset management subsidiary of Emirati sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company. The investor has ploughed capital into an array of tech deals in the region alongside early-stage UK and European funds. It secured $1.63 billion for MIC Capital Partners III in August, which included a sizeable commitment from BlackRock’s secondaries and liquidity solutions group. Mubadala Capital also committed €1 billion to Bpifrance’s flagship Lac1 Fund, which backs listed French companies.

Deal of the Year in EMEA

1. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for Morrisons
2. EQT for Cerba HealthCare
3. Blackstone for Bourne Leisure

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice moved up from third place in EMEA’s Deal of the Year category in 2020 to become the frontrunner this year with its acquisition of UK supermarket chain Morrisons, valued at £8.7 billion ($11.8 billion; €10.3 billion). The deal made headlines for all the right reasons – it was the largest take-private in the UK in a decade and involved a three-round auction and four-month battle, in which the firm outbid rivals including a group of investors led by Fortress Investment Group.

Exit of the Year in EMEA

1. Permira for Dr Martens
2. KKR for SoftwareONE
3. Triton Partners for DSI Underground

Dr Martens’ London IPO at a top-of-the-range valuation of £3.7 billion ($4.9 billion; €4.23 billion) was one of the most surprising listings in the thick of the pandemic. The offer, which raised £1.3 billion, was eight times oversubscribed. Under Permira’s ownership of UK-made Dr Martens, the company’s enterprise value grew from £300 million to £4 billion at the time of its IPO. It also grew its revenues and EBITDA to about 4x and 7x, respectively, and more than tripled its global workforce.

Fundraise of the Year in EMEA

1. EQT
2. Nordic Capital
3. GHO Capital

EQT reclaims the top spot after winning Fundraise of the Year in EMEA in 2018. The firm gathered €15.6 billion for its ninth flagship fund in April last year, which is nearly €5 billion more than its predecessor. Approximately 70 percent of commitments to EQT IX came from existing LPs. The Scandinavian giant had already deployed 75-80 percent of EQT IX as of mid-January. What’s more, it is back on the fundraising circuit, targeting €20 billion for EQT X.

Firm of the Year in Africa

1. Helios Investment Partners
2. MSA Capital
3. Development Partners International

Helios Investment Partners secured the title of Firm of the Year in Africa as a result of its numerous investments in 2021 across multiple industries, including retail (via its investment in BIM Morocco, the largest discount grocery retailer in the country) and healthcare (its acquisition of a majority stake in Morocco’s largest medtech group). Elsewhere, Helios successfully completed its exit from GBfoods Africa, one of the continent’s largest FMCG companies.

Firm of the Year in Benelux

1. CVC Capital Partners
2. Equistone Partners Europe
3. Gimv

Although it has a presence in many major markets, CVC was particularly active in the Benelux region this past year. In July, it announced the sale of speciality resins producer AOC to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds; under CVC’s ownership, the Netherlands-based firm saw growth in revenues and EBITDA of 4x and 15x, respectively. Also in 2021, CVC agreed to sell a majority stake in Corialis, a leading Belgian aluminium systems designer and manufacturer, to Astorg.

Firm of the Year in CEE

1. Horizon Capital
2. Abris Capital Partners
3. Penta Investments

Noting that its investment strategy focuses on “fast-growing, export-orientated companies that leverage CEE’s cost-competitive advantage”, Horizon Capital’s activity within the region in the past year made it an impressive contender in this category. Backed by more than 40 institutional investors with a capital base exceeding $570 billion, and managing AUM of over $1.1 billion, it enjoyed several successful exits – including Ukrainian healthcare firm Dobrobut and brick manufacturer Kerameya. In February 2021, its EEGF III fund contributed to a $68 million capital raise for global software company Creatio.

Firm of the Year in France

1. KKR
2. PAI Partners
3. Eurazeo

A large part of KKR’s win in this category stems from the firm vastly expanding its local presence over the past two years. The firm now has 10 dedicated executives in Paris – an increase from just two in 2019 – and was the most active private equity sponsor in the country over the past 12 months. On portfolio exits, KKR supported the second-biggest listing on Euronext Paris in 2021, with the IPO of French-headquartered cloud services provider OVH.

Firm of the Year in Germany

1. Deutsche Private Equity
2. Equistone Partners Europe
3. Verdane

Deutsche Private Equity’s conservative business model helped drive it to success in this year’s PEI Awards. The firm invests in SMEs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, has launched four funds since its founding in 2007, and experiences portfolio sales increases of 20-25 percent on average every year. Its most recent accomplishment came in January, when it completed the sale of German printing firm Euro-Druckservice to Jet Investment for an undisclosed sum.

Firm of the Year in Iberia

1. AltamarCAM Partners
2. Magnum Capital
3. Alantra

Formed in 2021 from a merger between Altamar Capital Partners – one of the most prolific PE firms in the Iberian Peninsula – and investment manager CAM Alternatives, AltamarCAM Partners now manages €16 billion in assets, according to PEI data, and has a presence in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. Clients of this year’s Firm of the Year in Iberia have access to a full range of services, including private equity, venture capital and real estate.

Firm of the Year in Italy

1. CVC Capital Partners
2. Investindustrial
3. Ambienta

Numerous highlights in the Italian market have led to CVC Capital Partners winning this category for the second year in a row, including the firm entering into discussions in May for CVC Fund VIII to acquire leading multinational consulting firm Business Integration Partners, and its acquisition of the remaining 50 percent of Multiversity – the owner of Italian online university Pegaso – following its initial investment in 2019. In June, CVC also announced the sale of leather manufacturer Pasubio, whose EBITDA more than doubled during CVC’s ownership.

Firm of the Year in MENA

1. Investcorp
2. MSA Capital
3. Arcapita

Investcorp’s MENA private equity team both invests in mid-cap companies in the region and partners with parties that hold majority or minority stakes in investments. Since 2008, it has deployed approximately $1.4 billion across 16 investments, carefully chosen from around 2,000 opportunities. The team prides itself on its knowledge of demographics-driven industries, including healthcare, retail and logistics – as a consequence, Investcorp has been named Firm of the Year in MENA every year since 2018.

Firm of the Year in the Nordics

1. Nordic Capital
2. CVC Capital Partners
3. Triton Partners

With a team of more than 100 staff across the region, Nordic Capital is one of private equity’s key players in the Nordics. One major 2021 success took place in June, when the firm raised just over €1.2 billion in a record three months for its first mid-market Evolution Fund. Amassed entirely virtually, due to the pandemic, the fund focuses on control buyouts and will target equity investments across Northern Europe.

Firm of the Year in Switzerland

1. Partners Group
2. Montana Capital Partners
3. Equistone Partners Europe

Partners Group prevailed over its competitors in this category following a mammoth year. The firm raised $15 billion for its fourth PE buyout programme (its largest pool of capital for the asset class), consisting of $6 billion for Direct Equity 2019 and $9 billion via separate accounts and other mandates. Half of the capital had been deployed across 17 deals as of November, including US veterinary hospital operator Blue River PetCare, Portuguese crop nutrition manufacturer Rovensa and Indian logistics provider Ecom Express.

Firm of the Year in the UK

1. Hg
2. CVC Capital Partners
3. Tenzing

In a fiercely competitive category, Hg has once again been voted Firm of the Year in the UK following an active year in the country. The tech specialist invested about $8 billion in the last 12 months across 21 new platform investments, and returned more than $3 billion of proceeds across 13 liquidity events and exits. The firm is also one of a handful of PE firms globally to have carbon-reduction targets approved in line with the Science-Based Targets initiative.

Fund of Funds Manager of the Year in EMEA

1. AltamarCAM Partners
2. HarbourVest Partners
3. LGT Capital Partners

This is the third consecutive year that Altamar has been named Fund of Funds Manager for the EMEA region. For the Madrid-headquartered firm, 2021 was a significant year – it partnered with Germany’s CAM Alternatives to become AltamarCAM Partners. The combined firm raised more than €2.2 billion last year and launched new fund of funds vehicles across a range of strategies, including venture capital, real estate, infrastructure and private debt.

Placement Agent of the Year in EMEA

1. Evercore
2. Campbell Lutyens
3. Rede Partners

Evercore has won the Placement Agent of the Year accolade in EMEA for the second year running. Last year, its private funds group held final closes for four European buyout funds, with a total closed amount of over $2 billion. The firm also held interim closes on two further buyout funds, which totalled more than $600 million. Among these fund closes was KLAR Partners’ debut fund, which held a final close on its €600 million hard-cap within 12 months of launching.

Law Firm of the Year in EMEA (Fund Formation)

1. Kirkland & Ellis
2. Clifford Chance
3. Proskauer Rose

Kirkland has won in this category for a second year in a row. Since November 2020, it has counselled clients in more than 600 funds closed and in process, exceeding $790 billion in total commitments. Over the last 12 months, the firm has advised on $220 billion of capital commitments, including Waterland Private Equity Fund VIII on €2.5 billion and GHO Capital III on €2 billion.

Law Firm of the Year in EMEA (Transactions)

1. Kirkland & Ellis
2. Debevoise & Plimpton
3. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson

Kirkland has once again picked up the award for Law Firm of the Year in EMEA for transactions – its third consecutive win. The firm advised on 64 European buyouts valued at £61.7 billion ($83.4 billion; €72 billion) between Q4 2020 and Q3 2021. It led Blackstone’s £15.4 billion financing for the acquisition of Autostrade per l’Italia, and for Bain Capital Private Equity and Cinven on the £3.4 billion acquisition of Lonza Specialty Ingredients.

Lender of the Year in EMEA

1. Ares Management
2. Park Square Capital
3. Permira

Ares has picked up the Lender of the Year title across two regions in the PEI Awards 2021 – EMEA and the Americas. Helping it to the top spot was the close of its fifth commingled European direct lending fund. Ares Capital Europe V closed on its €11 billion hard-cap in April, exceeding its €9 billion target. The fund brought in nearly 180 investors, including 65 new LPs, and is about 70 percent larger than its predecessor.