Private equity firms manage investment capital obtained from institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) to acquire equity ownership of companies through a variety of strategies, including leveraged buyouts and venture capital. Private equity firms operate with long-haul investment horizons, regularly five to seven years.
After obtaining an equity interest in a company, the private equity firm looks to eventually benefit through either selling the company out and out or through an initial public offering (Initial public offering). When especially large investments are required, these firms often partner with other private equity firms to raise the necessary capital and to reduce their risk. Most firms specialize in one or more industries or investment strategies where they have specific expertise.
1. The Blackstone Group Inc.
Founded in 1985 and headquartered in New York, with offices in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Dubai, The Blackstone Group Inc. (BX) leads with $941 billion in total AUM.
The company invests across a broad range of market sectors, including energy, retail, and technology. While private equity is its largest category of investments, Blackstone also has hundreds of billions of dollars in holdings in real estate, credit, and hedge fund solutions. Among its portfolio companies are financial markets data and infrastructure provider Refinitiv, digital family ancestry services provider Ancestry, and dating and social networking apps owner and operator Bumble.
2. KKR and Co. Inc.
KKR and Co. Inc. (KKR), formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., has a total AUM of $479 billion. Founded in 1976 and headquartered in New York, KKR is known for being one of the first firms to engage in large-scale leveraged buyouts, which are still one of the association’s specialties.
Among the company’s noteworthy transactions are its 1989 leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco and its 2007 buyout of TXU, the largest leveraged buyout on record.
3. CVC Capital Partners
CVC Capital Partners has nearly $127 billion of total AUM, and its private equity platforms manage $87 billion of assets. Founded in 1981, CVC has 25 offices worldwide. CVC. “Working at CVC.” Its private equity portfolio includes more than 110 companies around the globe.
4. The Carlyle Group Inc.
The Carlyle Group Inc. (CG) has a total AUM of $376 billion, employs more than 1,900 professionals worldwide, and operates through 26 offices across five continents. The company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its corporate private equity unit has an AUM of $167 billion. and notable current holdings include Supreme and Workforce Logiq.
5. Thoma Bravo
Thoma Bravo has $114 billion AUM and more than 40 years of experience in providing capital and strategic support to experienced management teams and growing software and technology companies. Some of the most notable companies in its portfolio include McAfee, Conga, and Anchorage.
Based in Sweden, EQT A.B. (EQT.ST) has a total AUM of 73.3 billion euros, or nearly $81.7 billion at the exchange rate as of this writing. Founded in 1994, the firm has approximately 1,200 employees in 24 countries across Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region. Flying Tiger Copenhagen is perhaps its best-realized portfolio company among U.S. consumers.
7. Vista Equity Partners
With more than $86 billion in AUM, Vista Equity Partners invests exclusively in software, data, and technology-enabled organizations. The company has strategic investments across companies in healthcare, advertising, and risk management, among other industries. In September 2019, Vista closed a $16 billion technology fund, the largest fund ever raised by an independent private equity firm.
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