Preqin’s Fund Manager Profiles shows that there are currently just over 2,500 private equity firms worldwide that consider making buyout investments, either exclusively or as part of a wider strategy, with over 400 firms focused solely on buyout investments. Since 2004, 1,764 buyout funds have held a final close, which have collectively raised $1,475bn. As of February 2014, firms that consider buyout investments have $416bn in uncalled capital, which has risen in previous years, from $354bn in 2012 to $400bn in 2013.
The majority (53%) of uncalled capital is ready to be deployed for opportunities arising from North America, with an estimated $219bn available to North America-focused funds. This has risen by 4% from 2013 levels and a further 12% from the level of dry powder available in 2012. Europe-focused funds follow a similar trend, with the level of dry powder increasing from $116bn in 2012, to $132bn in 2013 and then to $140bn as of February 2014. Funds focused on Asia and other regions outside of North America and Europe currently have slightly less uncalled capital compared with the $58bn available in 2013; however this amount currently stands as the highest level across the previous decade.
According to Preqin’s Fund Manager League Tables, the private equity firm with the largest amount of buyout dry powder globally is Apollo Global Management, with an estimated $21bn available to invest. The New York-based firm most recently closed the Apollo Investment Fund VIII on $18.4bn; the largest fund to raise since the financial crisis and almost $4bn more than the previous buyout fund it raised. CVC Capital Partners follows closely behind as the largest Europe-based firm in terms of its dry powder, with just under $20bn in uncalled capital. The firm’s most recent fund, CVC European Equity Partners VI, managed to garner a total of $10.5bn in capital commitments.