Rules of the game

Would you believe that ranking 300 private equity firms by size is not an easy task?

First one needs to define “private equity” and “size”. Then one needs to gather accurate capital-formation information on hundreds of firms in what is among the most opaque markets in the world.

The result of this hard work is the PEI 300, an expansion of an earlier annual ranking conducted by Private Equity International called the PEI 50. Responding to demand from our readers, we have simply applied the same rules governing the PEI 50 rankings to a much larger population of firms.

In compiling the rankings, we are certain that we missed some important details, but we are equally certain that we exhausted every available resource in sourcing the best information. Private equity remains a non-transparent asset class, but it is getting more transparent with each passing year. We therefore believe that the PEI 300 will become more and more authoritative as a guide to the most important investment firms in the global private equity market.

A firm's rank among the largest 300 private equity firms in the world is determined by how much private equity direct-investment capital that firm has raised over a roughly five-year window ending at our press date last month.

The PEI 300 is a ranking of private equity firms globally by size. It is the only apples-to-apples comparison of dedicated, direct-investment private equity programmes. The rankings began in 2007 as the PEI 50 and was expanded to the PEI 300 in 2009 due to demand for more information about private equity firms globally.

The PEI 300 is not a performance ranking, nor does it constitute investment recommendations. The PEI 300 includes private equity firms with varying structures and strategies around the world. While the list is mostly made up of private equity firms that manage private equity limited partnerships, it also includes firms with multiple strategies and business lines, and firms with publicly traded vehicles.

However, only a defined type of private equity capital is counted in determining the PEI 300 rankings, as described below. The PEI 300 only measures capital raised or formed within a five-year window spanning from 1 January 2004 until 15 April 2009. Last year's rankings were also drawn from a 64-month window, but of course last year the window started on 1 January 2003 and ended on 15 April 2008.

Where two firms have raised the same amount of capital over this time period, the higher PEI 300 rank goes to the firm with the largest active pool of capital raised since 2004 (i.e., the biggest single fund). If there is still a “tie” after taking into account size of single fund, we give greater weight to the firm that has raised the most capital most recently.

In coming up with our key “2009 PEI 300 Five-Year Fundraising Total” figures, upon which the PEI 300 rankings are based, we rely on the most accurate information available. We give highest priority to information that we receive from or confirm with the private equity firms themselves, always on background. When the private equity firms themselves confirm details, we still seek to “trust but verify”.

Some details simply cannot be verified by us, and in these cases we defer to the honour system. In order to encourage cooperation from private equity firms that might make the PEI 300, we do not disclose which firms have aided us on background and which have not. Lacking confirmation of details from the firms themselves, we seek to corroborate information using any available resources, including the firms' own websites, press releases, news reports, third-party databases, limited partner disclosures, etc.

To help answer this question – how much private equity capital has the firm raised since 1 January 2004? – we needed to set some definitions:

“Private equity”: The definition of private equity for the purposes of the PEI 300 means capital raised for a dedicated programme of investing directly into businesses. This includes equity capital for diversified private equity, buyouts, growth equity, venture capital, turnaround or control-oriented distressed investment capital, and mezzanine debt. Our rankings do not take into account funds of funds capital, capital raised for primarily real estate strategies, hedge fund capital, infrastructure and debt capital.

“Capital raised”: 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 2004. We count the full amount of a fund if it has a close after this date. We also 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 other means, such as LP co-investment vehicles, deal-by-deal LP co-investment capital, publicly traded vehicles and earmarked annual contributions from a sponsoring entity, when we are able to access this information. Where capital is raised in partnership with an affiliated entity, we take into consideration the economic relationship between the two entities, as well as how the fundraising was marketed to investors.

We count mezzanine debt raised by firms that are primarily engaged in private equity investing. We only count equity raised for these funds, not the leveraged “buying power”. Mezzanine debt frequently involves warrants for equity stakes, and has historically been counted alongside buyout capital by industry media and data services groups.

2008 PEI 300 rank:32008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$48.75 billionHeadquarters:Fort Worth (Texas)Founded:1992Partner-level private equity professionals:45Whole firm employee count:500+Capital raised since inception:$60 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:22008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$49.05 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1986Partner-level private equity professionals:16Total private equity professionals140Private equity capital raised since inception: Current PE ‘dry powder’:$76 billion $20 billionValue of unrealised private equity portfolio:$45 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:12008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$52 billionHeadquarters:Washington DCFounded:1987Partner-level private equity professionals:114Total private equity professionals:325Whole firm employee count:950Current private equity ‘dry powder’:$31.6 billionValue of unrealised private equity portfolio:$30 billionPrivate equity capital raised since inception:$89.7 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:42008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$39.67 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1976Partner-level private equity professionals:26Total private equity professionals:150+Whole firm employee count:440+Private equity capital raised since inception:$57 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:62008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$32.82 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1990Partner-level private equity professionals:34Total private equity professionals:175+Private equity capital raised since inception:$46 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:72008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$31.71 billionHeadquarters:BostonFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:33Total private equity professionals:204Whole firm employee count:620Private equity capital raised since inception:$37.65 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:52008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$36.84 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1981Partner-level private equity professionals:31Total private equity professionals:132Current private equity portfolio companies:522008 PEI 300 rank:102008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$23.3 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1985Partner-level private equity professionals:20Total private equity professionals:100Whole firm employee count:1,238Private equity capital raised since inception:$36 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:112008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$23.0 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1966Partner-level private equity professionals:55Total private equity professionals:170Whole firm employee count:400Private equity capital raised since inception:$42 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:92008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$25.23 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1981Partner-level private equity professionals:25Total private equity professionals:116Whole firm employee count:311Private equity capital raised since inception:$34.98 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:232008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$12.82 billionHeadquarters:Greenwich (Connecticut)Founded:1983Partner-level private equity professionals:14Total private equity professionals:67Whole firm employee count:115Private equity capital raised since inception:$13.1 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:122008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$22.98 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1945Total private equity professionals:250+Whole firm employee count:750+Current value of private equity portfolio:$13.82 billionCurrent number of private equity portfolio investments4872008 PEI 300 rank:152008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$17 billionHeadquarters:Bethesda (Maryland)Founded:1986Partner-level private equity professionals:59Total private equity professionals:380Whole firm employee count:605Private equity capital raised since inception:$28.2 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:252008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$12 billionHeadquarters:San FranciscoFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:14Total private equity professionals:45Private equity capital raised since inception:$16 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:72008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$16.36 billionHeadquarters:Providence (Rhode Island)Founded:1990Partner-level private equity professionals:15Total private equity professionals:65Whole firm employee count:134Private equity capital raised since inception:$20.94 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:132008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$18.32 billionHeadquarters:BostonFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:36Total private equity professionals:120Whole firm employee count:235Private equity capital raised since inception:$24 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:142008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$17 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1994Total private equity professionals:70+Whole firm employee count:100Private equity capital raised since inception:$25 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:212008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$13.3 billionHeadquarters:Greenwich (Connecticut)Founded:1980Partner-level private equity professionals:29Total private equity professionals:90Whole firm employee count:172Private equity capital raised since inception:$17 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:202008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$14 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1998Partner-level private equity professionals:15Total private equity professionals:323Whole firm employee count:820Total ‘fee-paying’ assets under management:$34.2 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:172008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$15.6 billionHeadquarters:Menlo Park (California)Founded:1999Partner-level private equity professionals:19Total private equity professionals:75Whole firm employee count:111Private equity capital raised since inception:$16.62 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:182008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$14.9 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1992Total private equity professionals:150+Whole firm employee count:275+2008 PEI 300 rank:82008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$25.43 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1985Partner-level private equity professionals:28Total private equity professionals:131Whole firm employee count:215Private equity capital raised since inception:$29 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:282008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$11.38 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1978Partner-level private equity professionals:18Total private equity professionals:38Whole firm employee count:42Private equity capital raised since inception:$18.1 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:312008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$10.22 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:25Total private equity professionals:101Whole firm employee count:190Private equity capital raised since inception:$16.58 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:222008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$12.98 billionHeadquarters:ParisFounded:1998Partner-level private equity professionals:19Total private equity professionals:50Whole firm employee count:64Private equity capital raised since inception:$15.09 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:272008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$11.7 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:25Total private equity professionals:67Whole firm employee count:125Private equity capital raised since inception:$18 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:242008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$12.47 billionHeadquarters:StockholmFounded:1994Partner-level private equity professionals:24Total private equity professionals:102Whole firm employee count:155Private equity capital raised since inception:$16.9 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:472008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$6.5 billionHeadquarters:ChicagoFounded:1992Partner-level private equity professionals:32Total private equity professionals:46Whole firm employee count:80Private equity capital raised since inception:$16.3 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:302008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$10.52 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1934Total private equity professionals:20Whole firm employee count:42Deal volume since inception:$50 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:292008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$10.69 billionHeadquarters:TorontoFounded:1991Total private equity professionals:50Whole firm employee count:700Private equity portfolio investments since inception300+2008 PEI 300 rank:322008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$10.1 billionHeadquarters: Founded:Boston 1974Partner-level private equity professionals: Total private equity professionals:13 43Current private equity ‘dry powder’:$4.7 billionPrivate equity capital raised since inception:$22 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:262008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$11.93 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1977Partner-level private equity professionals:24Total private equity professionals:55Whole firm employee count:116Private equity capital raised since inception:$18 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:492008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$6.17 billionHeadquarters:TorontoFounded:1984Partner-level private equity professionals:8Total private equity professionals:27Whole firm employee count:60Private equity portfolio investments since inception:240+2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2000Partner-level private equity professionals:13Total private equity professionals:35Value of deals since inception:$11 billionPrivate equity portfolio investments since inception:582008 PEI 300 rank:47342008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$9.24 billionHeadquarters:ParisFounded:1996Total private equity professionals:106Whole firm employee count:235Private equity capital raised since inception:$25.26 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:402008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$7 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2001Partner-level private equity professionals:13Total private equity professionals:46Private equity portfolio investments since inception:242008 PEI 300 rank:362008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$8.4 billionHeadquarters:Los AngelesFounded:1995Partner-level private equity professionals:12Total private equity professionals:21Whole firm employee count:450+Private equity capital raised since inception:$11.4 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:332008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$9.26 billionHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1986Partner-level private equity professionals:25Total private equity professionals:50Whole firm employee count:100Private equity capital raised since inception:$14.5 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:LondonFounded:1980Total private equity professionals:43Private equity capital raised since inception:$11.48 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:502008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$5.88 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1979Partner-level private equity professionals:15Total private equity professionals:50Whole firm employee count:60+Private equity capital raised since inception:$15.9 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:StockholmFounded:1989Partner-level private equity professionals:17Total private equity professionals:44Private equity capital raised since inception:$11.9 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:452008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$6.65 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2000Partner-level private equity professionals:4Total private equity professionals:152008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2001Partner-level private equity professionals:6Total private equity professionals:19Current private equity portfolio investments:222008 PEI 300 rank:382008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$8 billionHeadquarters:Boca Raton (Florida)Founded:1995Co-CEOs + managing directors:17Whole firm employee count:149Capital raised since inception:$9.5 billionPortfolio company investments since inception:200+2008 PEI 300 rank:352008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$8.84 billionHeadquarters:DallasFounded:1988Partner-level private equity professionals:21Total private equity professionals:51Whole firm employee count:93Private equity capital raised since inception:$10.4 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:AmsterdamFounded:2000Partner-level co-invest and mezzanine professionals:5Total co-invest and mezzanine professionals:26Whole firm employee count:82Total assets under management:$52.8 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:1971Transaction professionals:9Value of private equity deals since inception:$31 billion2008 PEI 300 rank:N/A2008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:N/AHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2000Partner-level private equity professionals:31Whole firm employee count:802008 PEI 300 rank:372008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$8.15 billionHeadquarters:AthensFounded:2007Whole firm employee count:17Current private equity portfolio investments92008 PEI 300 rank:442008 PEI 300 five-year fundraising total:$6.67 billionHeadquarters:New YorkFounded:2002Partner-level private equity professionals:14Total private equity professionals:32Whole firm employee count:72Private equity capital raised since inception:$8.9 billion