Large-Cap Firm of the Year in North America

  1. TPG
  2. KKR
  3. Clearlake Capital Group

2022 was a big year for North America large-cap firm of the year TPG, which went public in January raising $1.1 billion of capital for its IPO at a $10.5 billion post-money valuation, the firm said. TPG raised $29 billion over the 12-month period, with its flagship TPG Capital and Healthcare Partners funds raising a combined $10.6 billion to the end of September 2022 against an $18.5 billion target. The firm also closed its debut climate fund, TPG Rise Climate, on $7.3 billion in April of last year.

Mid-Market Firm of the Year in North America

  1. Audax Private Equity
  2. Arctos Sports Partners
  3. TA Associates

Across the awards period, Audax Private Equity completed 15 new investments, 122 add-ons, and 17 exits and liquidity events in the region, while Audax Private Debt participated in 156 financing arrangements in support of 51 different sponsors. Notable highlights included the launches of Origins, its new dedicated lower mid-market strategy, and Audax Strategic Capital, a new division that will seek to provide capital solutions to PE GPs. The firm also completed its first single-asset continuation fund for Aspen Surgical Products.

Limited Partner of the Year in North America

  1. California Public Employees’ Retirement System
  2. New York State Common Retirement Fund
  3. California State Teachers’ Retirement System

CalPERS made headlines in 2022 for its sale of a near-$6 billion PE portfolio at a double-digit discount to net asset value. The pension system, which, according to PEI data, has around $449 billion in total AUM, committed more than $18 billion of capital into all segments of private equity with over a third of total deployment going into co-investments. Last year, CalPERS took a leadership role in the creation of Ownership Works, the private markets initiative working towards increased levels of employee ownership.

Deal of the Year in North America

  1. Vista Equity Partners and Elliott Investment Management for Citrix
  2. Hellman & Friedman and Bain Capital for athenahealth
  3. Advent International, Permira, Crosspoint, CPP Investments, GIC and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for McAfee

Vista Equity Partners and Elliott Investment Management take home the award for North American Deal of the Year for the firms’ acquisition of cloud computing company Citrix, which completed in September. In an all-cash transaction valued at $16.5 billion, Vista and Elliott simultaneously combined the company with an existing Vista portfolio company, infrastructure and business intelligence software company TIBCO, to create Cloud Software Group.

Exit of the Year in North America

  1. KKR for CHI Overhead Doors
  2. Thoma Bravo for Kofax
  3. Brookfield Asset Management for Westinghouse Electric Company

This winning exit made headlines last year through its innovative use of the employee ownership model: upon KKR’s sale of garage door manufacturer CHI Overhead for $3 billion in June 2022, all CHI employees received a substantial cash pay-out of approximately $175,000, on average. KKR acquired CHI for $685 million in 2015, with the recent sale marking one of KKR’s largest returns to date, at 10x the original equity invested.

Fundraise of the Year in North America

  1. KKR
  2. Advent International
  3. Veritas Capital

KKR held a final close on its largest fundraise to date, KKR North America Fund XIII, in March 2022 on around $19 billion. The fund is more than a third larger than its predecessor and closed after 16 months in the market. It consisted of $17 billion of third-party LP commitments and $2 billion from KKR’s own balance sheet, plus financing partners and employees.

Distressed Debt Investor of the Year in North America

  1. Oaktree Capital Management
  2. Apollo Global Management
  3. Ares Management

This is the second consecutive win in this category for Oaktree, which held a final close for its 11th Opportunities fund in November 2021 – at $16 billion, it was the largest private debt fund ever raised at that time, and Oaktree’s largest-ever fund, closing ahead of its $15 billion target. At the time of closing, the fund had invested or committed to investing 70 percent of its capital in a mix of opportunities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.

Firm of the Year in Canada

  1. Brookfield Asset Management
  2. Whitehorse Liquidity Partners
  3. Northleaf Capital Partners

Toronto-headquartered Brookfield snapped up this award largely by being on track to have its strongest fundraising year ever at the time of voting. Over the course of 2022, it announced the final close for Brookfield Global Transition Fund on $15 billion; first closes for its fifth flagship infrastructure fund on $21 billion and sixth flagship private equity fund on $8.4 billion; and the completion of fundraising for its fourth flagship real estate fund on $17 billion.

Firm of the Year in Latin America

  1. Patria Investments
  2. Advent International
  3. L Catterton

This category has been won every year by Advent International since 2014 – until now. This year’s winner, Patria Investments, has been operating in Latin America for over 30 years and listed on the Nasdaq in 2021. The firm’s PE arm, which has $10.6 billion in AUM, completed 34 M&A transactions and deployed nearly $800 million in the region over the last 12 months. Its 28 portfolio companies employ more than 24,000 people and it grew EBITDA by 31 percent over the period.

Fund of Funds Manager of the Year in North America

  1. HarbourVest Partners
  2. AlpInvest Partners
  3. Pantheon

Although HarbourVest Partners has won this award every year since 2017, 2022 was a period of particularly heightened activity. The firm held a final close on its 12th flagship US fund, HarbourVest Fund XII, on $3 billion, above its $2 billion target. It also committed nearly $2.6 billion to 86 funds in the Americas, 88 percent of which were oversubscribed. Primary fund investing was complemented by direct co-investments of more than $2.8 billion in the Americas.

Placement Agent of the Year in North America

  1. Evercore
  2. Campbell Lutyens
  3. Eaton Partners

The winner in this category every year since 2018, Evercore is widely regarded as one of the industry’s leading placement agents. The firm advised on Insight Partners Fund XII, which raised around 150 percent of its target of $13.5 billion, closing at over $20 billion in capital. Specific to North America, Evercore PFG held final closes for two North American buyout funds in 2022, for a total closed amount of around $22.5 billion.

Law Firm of the Year in North America (Fund Formation)

  1. Kirkland & Ellis
  2. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  3. Proskauer

In the 12 months to November, Kirkland’s US offices advised on more than 670 fundraises, both closed and still in progress, totalling $950 billion in aggregate commitments. Key client mandates across the year include Thoma Bravo’s Fund XV, which closed in December 2022 on $24.3 billion; I Squared Capital’s $15 billion raise for ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund III; and Clearlake Capital Partners VII, which closed on $14.1 billion. In May, the firm poached a six-strong US funds team from Proskauer focusing on products for high-net-worth and retail investors.

Law Firm of the Year in North America (Transactions)

  1. Kirkland & Ellis
  2. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  3. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

In the year through to the end of the third quarter, Kirkland had advised on 238 buyouts, of which 185 were US-based transactions worth approximately $98.4 billion. Alongside this, the firm worked on 78 US exits. Notable deals included a number of mandates for Vista Equity Partners, KKR and Bain Capital. Kirkland represented Vista Equity Partners alongside Evergreen Coast Capital on their $16.5 billion acquisition of Citrix Systems; KKR and an acquiring consortium in the $15 billion acquisition of CyrusOne; and Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman in their $17 billion joint acquisition of athenahealth.

Lender of the Year in North America

  1. Ares Management
  2. Blackstone Credit
  3. Audax Private Debt

Ares’ US direct-lending strategy invested $33 billion across the qualifying period, serving as lead arranger on approximately 86 percent of total dollar value of deals. In terms of fundraising, it raised $21.6 billion in gross new equity and debt commitments across its US direct-lending vehicles as of September 2022. The firm also held a final close of its Ares Sports, Media & Entertainment Finance evergreen fund with $2.2 billion of investor commitments, exceeding its $1.5 billion target.