The 2004 Global Private Equity Awards

A range of global categories, no short list and thousands of votes cast by our readers – the Global Private Equity Awards 2004 were our biggest and best yet.

The one thing that an absence of judges, sponsors and shortlists for an awards poll guarantees is diversity.  Unfettered by such restrictive guidelines, the readers of both PrivateEquityOnline.com and Private Equity International demonstrated a broad – and sometimes eclectic – knowledge of the individuals, institutions and transactions that shaped private equity in 2004 across the globe. 

Sure, you might see a few familiar faces in the winners’ enclosures,  but we guarantee you’ll be surprised at some as well. And that’s the real beauty of these awards – we simply ask the questions of the industry and you, our readers, tell us what you think.  GPs, LPs, bankers, lawyers,  accountants, placement agents,  investment advisers, academics –even journalists – all these different communities that connect with private equity voted. And they came from all over the world too. 

To view the results, click here.  

This year, the awards were bigger than ever – both in terms of categories and number of votes cast.  The global rise of secondary players was acknowledged,  resulting in a hotly contested poll both in Europe and the US and the ever difficult-to-categorise midmarket sector attracted significant interest also. The growing importance of Asia was also recognised, through the introduction of four new categories within that region. 

One of the main effects of not providing category shortlists, and one that was markedly in evidence this year, is that a number of categories produced a fascinatingly wide selection of contenders. Often separated by only a handful of votes, categories such as European buyout firm and mid-market firm of the year were extremely tightly contested. In the US, a hair’s breadth separated the top six contenders for Personality of the Year, with an unprecedented,  though not perhaps unexpected, 1- 2 for one of the major firms. While several firms repeated past victories, a significant number of new names came to prominence.

In Europe, it is striking that for the first time ever, we have had ten genuinely “local” winners of the country categories rather than seeing any of these categories taken by one of the London-headquartered pan-European firms. And once again a major UK-based buyout group has not only taken best UK firm but also best overall European firm. 

We also examine the successful Asian fundraisings in 2004 that created such a close race, and we also look at how a US law firm that no longer exists managed to win the Best North American Law Firm for Fund Formation category. 

As the following pages will serve to remind, it was an action-packed year and we had a lot of fun reporting the events, developments,  highs and lows that made it so memorable. And now here are the people and companies you have chosen to represent those 12 months: the best of breed who topped your poll.