Apax Partners, Oaktree Capital Management, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Hellman & Friedman were among the private equity industry's standout participants during a challenging 2009, according to more than 130,000 votes cast in the Private Equity International Awards 2009.
Click here for full coverage of the 2009 winners as published in our Annual Review
These awards represent the firms, funds and deals that best survived 2009's turbulent financial and economic conditions. They also showcase those who thrived because of them. Oaktree Capital Management, for example, a firm known for using market dislocation to its advantage, won the most awards of all firms, sweeping the best distressed investor category in all regions as well as the special situations/turnaround category in Asia.
With debt markets bringing the buyout market to a standstill for much of the year, the deal environment in 2009 was challenging, to say the least. Meanwhile, both LPs and GPs encountered more acute liquidity issues, making it clear the secondary market would play an increasing role in private equity portfolio and fund restructurings. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that in Europe readers chose a secondary transaction as private equity deal of the year: Coller Capital’s £50 million acquisition of a 24 percent stake in SVG Capital, which gave Coller increased exposure to Permira funds at a lower-than-average entry point.
The deal taking top honours in North America was similarly reflective of broader market conditions. Five months after a private equity-led syndicate took failed California mortgage lender Indymac private, a heavy hitting consortium of firms looked to repeat the manoeuvre with the rescue of failed Florida bank BankUnited. The $900 million bailout by investors – including The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Centerbridge Partners and WL Ross – stood out to private equity market participants as the region's most impressive deal of 2009.
Click here for a table of 2009 winners
The PEI Awards 2009 feature more than 70 categories across regions including North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.