Ranking of biggest private equity fundraisers welcomes 39 newcomers

A challenging fundraising environment has begun to affect the fortunes of GPs on the road.

This year’s PEI 300 welcomes 39 new entrants, 31 of which are US-based. Greenwich, Connecticut-headquartered Atlas Holdings is one of the country’s highest-ranking newcomers, arriving on the 2023 list in 152nd position. 

Atlas, which invests in the industrial, trading and distribution, and energy sectors, has closed two funds in the relevant five-year period: Atlas Capital Resources III, which closed in April 2018 on $1.68 billion, and Capital Resources IV, which closed in March 2021 on $3.1 billion. Both funds wrapped up fundraising on their targets, with Fund IV receiving commitments from Florida Retirement System Trust Fund and State of Wisconsin Investment Board, according to Private Equity International data.

Meanwhile, Parthenon Capital Partners jumped 168 places to rank 114th this year, seeing a 226 percent increase in the amount of capital raised. The firm gathered a total of $6.52 billion across the past five years, driven by Parthenon Investors VII, which closed on $4.5 billion in March 2023 against a target of $3.5 billion. The Boston-based GP invests in mid-market businesses focusing on financial, healthcare and business services sectors. 

Also in the US, New York-based Sentinel Capital Partners (118) secured a 201 percent increase in capital raised, boosting its ranking by 153 places.Though its second credit fund, Junior Capital II, closed $415 million below target (and would not count towards its PE fundraising in the ranking anyway), its seventh buyout strategy, Sentinel Capital Partners VII, had gathered $4.3 billion by December 2022, closing $550 million above target. 

In Europe, London-headquartered software specialist Hg has climbed its way up to the top 10 for the first time, rising nine places to eighth – up from 17th in 2022 and 31st in 2021. Hg began life as a mid-market generalist and later narrowed its focus to tech; today, it specialises in buyouts of software and services businesses. “There’s obviously risks and rewards to [specialising in software]. But that felt more motivating and encouraging for the people who work here as well, and for our clients,” Nic Humphries, senior partner and executive chairman at Hg, told Private Equity International in our May deep dive into the firm.

Hg’s sharp focus helped its latest large-cap strategy, Saturn 3, close on $11.06 billion in August last year, $2.56 billion north of its initial target. Hg’s 2022-vintage Genesis 10, meanwhile – which focuses on medium-sized businesses in western Europe – has already secured €6.75 billion, or 90 percent of its €7.47 billion target, as of its first close in April 2023. 

Sitting just above Hg is Advent International (7), which returns to the top 10 for the first time since ranking ninth four years ago. This jump was largely driven by the $25 billion final close of GPE X, making it the world’s second-largest PE fund at the time. 

Down the list

Some firms had less luck in fundraising this year. The Hague-headquartered Main Capital Partners came close to falling off the list entirely, dropping from 240th position last year to 299th. The firm’s 12 percent drop in fundraising stems from its fifth flagship – Main Capital V, which closed in December 2017 – falling out of the PEI 300’s five-year fundraising period. 

Canadian firm Onex (272) saw a fundraising drop of 67 percent, causing it to fall out of the top 100. In its Q1 2022 earnings call, the GP admitted fundraising efforts could be delayed. In November 2022, the firm held a first close on $2 billion for its sixth flagship vehicle against an $8 billion target.