2014 witnessed the highest amount of capital invested in terms of buyout deal value since 2007, with $343bn invested in the year. This strong performance is so far prevailing in 2015; Preqin’s Buyout Deals Analyst shows 1,252 private equity-backed buyout deals have taken place so far this year. Carlyle Group has participated in the highest number of transactions of any private equity firm in 2015, with 23 deals on record. The firm was also the most active investor in 2014, having participated in 62 private equity-backed deals. A notable deal this year for Carlyle has been the announced add-on of Cequel Communications (Suddenlink Communications) by Carlyle and Cinven-backed portfolio company, Altice S.A., which is acquiring a controlling stake in Cequel Communications in a deal valuing the latter company at $9.1bn including debt. However, as the tables below demonstrate, Carlyle Group comes second in the rankings in terms of the aggregate value of private equity deals in 2015.
The involvement of 3G Capital in the $40bn merger of Kraft Foods Group with H.J. Heinz Company, the largest deal in 2015 YTD, puts the firm at the top of the charts in terms of aggregate transaction value. This is the third year in a row that 3G Capital has made the list of the most active private equity investors by aggregate deal size through a single mega-deal (categorized as those over $10bn). Last year, 3G Capital’s appearance in the list was a result of the $11.5bn add-on acquisition of Tim Hortons Inc. by its portfolio company, Burger King.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), one of the largest global investors in the private equity deals space, has been the second most active this year in terms of number of deals, as well as the fourth most active with regards to aggregate deal value (including multi-investors deals). The firm’s largest deal so far this year is the announced acquisition of GE Capital's Australia and New Zealand Consumer Lending Business for AUD 8.2bn. The company is being acquired by a consortium consisting of KKR, Värde Partners and Deutsche Bank.
With regards to geographic variation, as expected, US-based private equity firms dominate the top 10 league tables. However, it is interesting to note that France-based firm Ardian appears in the top 10 most active private equity investors this year in terms of number of deals, with involvement in 13 investments. Additionally, UK-based Cinven and Permira are the only non-US-based firms that made their way into the top 10 list in terms of aggregate transaction value. Following on from a strong year in 2014, the largest firms are paving the way for another successful year in 2015.