PE exit activity in the U.S. B2B industry has been pronounced over the past two years, according to the PitchBook Platform. Last year was a particularly strong year for B2B exits; at 213 exits, 2012's exit count was about 32% higher than 2011's count of 161.
Much of the rise in exits came from a handful of sub-sectors. The industrial parts & supplies space, for instance, rose 118% from 2011 to 2012 (from 17 exits to 37). At the same time, aerospace & defense exits more than tripled from four to 13, and exit activity in the distributors/wholesale space rose from six to 15.
Secondary buyouts surged by more than 37% last year from 2011 levels. 2013 might surpass 2011 as well, with 72 such exits already completed this year, compared to 75 in 2011. Corporate acquisition activity rose almost as strongly as secondary buyout activity, gaining 33% in terms of count from 2011 to 2012, though the pace has been slower so far in 2013. Only 61 corporate acquisitions have been recorded so far this year, versus 78 in 2011 and 104 in 2012. PE-backed IPOs, unsurprisingly, are having a watershed year, with 12 completed so far in 2013, compared to only six in 2012 and eight in 2011.