Top private equity funds

PE firms in the US invested more than $1.2 trillion in 2021, a 64% increase from the previous record set in 2019. The unused capital from 2020, historically low-interest rates, and some fantastic opportunities to pick up stressed companies have led to a massive boom for the PE industry.

Here is a look at the top PE funds in the US that are driving this boom:

Top funds categorized by funds raised:

A report by Private Equity International (PEI) ranked the top 300 firms worldwide based on total private equity fundraising over the five-year period that ended on June 1, 2021. The Blackstone Group retains the top spot, with a five-year fundraising total of $93.2 billion.

1. The Blackstone Group Inc.

The Blackstone Group Inc. (BX) was founded in 1985 by Stephen A. Schwarzman. Blackstone continues to be headquartered in New York but has offices in many leading cities across the world. It leads the list of top PE funds with a whopping $881 billion in total AUM, up 42% YoY.

The company invests across a broad range of market sectors, including energy, healthcare, retail, and technology. It saw an inflow of $270.5 billion in the previous year and holds $135.8 billion in dry powder. Blackstone’s private equity AUM is second only to real estate and currently stands at $261.5 billion.

In the week ending 20th February, Blackstone completed three transactions worth $38 billion. Blackstone recapitalized Milestone to the tune of $24 billion. This is largely touted as the largest private real estate transaction ever. Other than that, it agreed to purchase Australian company Crown Resorts for $6.3 billion and Atlanta-based Preferred Apartment Communities for $5.8 billion.

2. KKR & Co. Inc

KKR & Co. Inc. (KKR), formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in New York. KKR has a total AUM of $471 billion, bolstered by significant fundraising in 2021 and the acquisition of General Atlantic.

KKR is known for being one of the first firms to participate in large-scale leveraged buyouts, one of the firm’s specialties. Its largest leveraged buyout on record is its 2007 buyout of TXU.

KKR invested $73 billion in the recently concluded year and holds $112 billion in dry powder. It has invested 56% of its investment holdings in private equity.

KKR is in the final stages of closing a deal worth $500 million to back Animoca Brands’ at a valuation of $5 billion.

3. The Carlyle Group Inc.

The Carlyle Group Inc. (CG) was founded in 1987 by William E. Conway Jr., Daniel A. D'Aniello, and David Rubenstein, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It has a total AUM of $301 billion and operates through 26 offices across five continents with nearly 1,850 people. The group has $84 billion in dry powder, up 10% from the previous year.

The company’s corporate private equity unit has an AUM of $162 billion and 270+ active portfolio companies.

Carlyle has agreed to sell its majority stake in Novolex to Apollo. While financial details were not disclosed, Bloomberg reported that Novolex was valued at $6 billion.

4. TPG

TPG Capital was founded in 1992 by David Bonderman and Jim Coulter and is headquartered in San Francisco. The company has 12 offices across eight countries and a total AUM of $109 billion.

 Among the firm’s prominent dealings are its buyout of Continental Airlines in 1993, its acquisition of Petco in 2000, and its leveraged buyout (with Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners) of Burger King in 2002.

On the 17th of February, the private equity arm of TPG made a majority investment in Confluent Medical Technologies. Confluent supports the design, development, and manufacturing of medical devices.

5. Thoma Bravo

Thoma Bravo was founded in 2008 by Orlando Bravo and is headquartered in Chicago. The company has a total AUM of over $91 billion. Thoma Bravo is opening an office in 830 Brickell, a 55 story tower in Miami.

Thoma Bravo funds focus on investing in middle-market software and technology companies, and some of the most notable companies in its portfolio include McAfee, Conga, and Anchorage.

Thoma Bravo recently made a takeover offer for Zendesk, however, this was rejected.

6. Vista Equity Partners

Vista Equity Partners was founded in 2000 by Robert F. Smith and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. It currently has $86 billion in AUM and 75+ portfolio companies. The company invests mostly in software, data, and technology-enabled organizations, but it also has strategic investments across companies in healthcare, advertising, and risk management, among other industries.

Vista recently led a $1 billion deal in Securonix, a security analytics firm.

7. Warburg Pincus

Warburg Pincus was established in 1966 by Eric M. Warburg and Lionel Pincus and is headquartered in New York. It has offices across 13 countries.

Warburg Pincus has more than $73 billion in total AUM, invested in more than 235 companies. The firm primarily prefers to invest in mature, well-established businesses in sectors like outsourcing, manufacturing, healthcare, media, banking, and shipping & logistics.

On the 17th of February, Warburg announced a BRL 530 million (US $100 million) investment in Sólides, an HRtech company. This marked one of the largest capital raises by an HR company in Latin America.

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