Private equity has continued to perform throughout the market downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, private equity may soon be more accessible to everyday investors than ever before. For these reasons, investors are paying close attention to this approach to investment.
Private equity is an umbrella term that involves several different types of investment transactions. A great way to get more acquainted with the private equity market is to follow some of the top investment firms. Read on to learn about the top firms around the world.
Founded in 1985, Blackstone has a total of $571 billion in assets under management and $183 billion in private equity, its largest category of investments. Some of the leading companies in its portfolio include the theme park operator Merlin Entertainments and the electric power transmission product creator Gates Corp. Blackstone invests across many different market sectors, from technology to retail. The firm is headquartered in New York with additional offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and London.
Leon Black, an investor formerly with Drexel Burnham Lambert, founded Apollo in 1990. Since then, the firm has gained a total of $331 billion in assets with $77 billion in private equity.
Apollo engages with private equity in several different ways, including distressed investments, corporate carve-outs, and opportunistic buyouts. Over the years, the firm has developed a reputation for doing the opposite of what other large firms are doing. With headquarters in New York, Apollo has many offices throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe.
With $356 billion in assets, Neuberger Berman has $89 billion in alternative investments, which includes private equity. Furthermore, the firm has $9 billion in commitments under the umbrella of alternative investments, raising the total to $98 billion. Altogether, the firm has more than three decades of investment experience and employs more than 160 professionals across seven locations around the globe.
Founded in 1984 and based out of Boston, Bain has emerged as one of the most recognized private equity firms in the world. The firm has 19 offices around the world and $105 billion in assets under management. About $65 billion of its assets are private equity, with a portfolio that includes major names like Michaels, NortonLifeLock, Canada Goose, and Bob’s Discount Furniture.
CVC Capital managed about $81 billion in direct assets with nearly $135 billion in funds committed by investors. In operation since 1981, the firm employs more than 500 people, including 250 professional investors, across 24 offices. The private equity division at the firm accounts for $55 billion in assets, and its portfolio currently includes 84 global companies.
6. KKR & Co.
Formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., KKR manages $218 billion in assets. KKR was founded in 1976 and became one of the first firms to get involved with large-scale leveraged buyouts. Today, KKR is still known for engaging heavily in this type of private equity transaction.
The firm was put on the map by its 1989 leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco and is also noted for its 2007 buyout of TXU, which remains the largest transaction of its kind on record. The KKR portfolio includes PetVet, Gardner Denver, and Optiv.
An extremely large firm, The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,775 professionals across the world in 32 offices. The firm is based out of Washington, DC, and boasts a private equity unit worth $86 billion, a significant portion of its $224 billion under management. Some of the biggest companies in the Carlyle Group portfolio include Orion Breweries Ltd., The Nature’s Bounty Co., and Chesapeake Energy Corp.
With more than $58 billion under management, Warburg Pincus focuses heavily on investments in China. The firm started as E. M. Warburg & Co. in 1939 and changed its name to Warburg Pincus in 1966. The firm’s private equity portfolio consists of 190 different companies. Currently, the firm has 14 offices spread across 11 countries.
9. EQT AB
A Swedish investment firm, EQT AB has about $45 billion in assets under its control, with a significant portion in private equity. One of the younger firms on this list, it was founded in 1994, but now claims more than 700 employees in 15 countries. Of its portfolio companies, American consumers are probably most familiar with Flying Tiger Copenhagen.
Vista focuses on software, data, and technology companies with additional strategic assets in advertising, risk management, health care, and entertainment. The firm has $52 billion in assets and in 2019 closed a $16 billion technology fund. This fund is the largest ever raised by an independent private equity firm.