Much of the story of private equity in 2016 involves a scaling back from 2015, when deal activity across just about every sector reached a decade high. By and large, that reduction in scope carries over to some of the year's biggest headlines, too.
Sure, PE in 2016 helped bring the largest tech M&A deal of all time. But in terms of exits and fundraising, the year was defined by restraint; no firm was able to reach the $9.3 billion sale price garnered by Biomet during 2015, nor the massive $18 billion buyout fund that Blackstone closed last year.
But there are still, of course, plenty of deals and vehicles worth highlighting that can help reveal some of the industry's big-picture trends. So let's get to it (more 2016 year-end content here):
1. EMC—$60 billion public-to-private buyout in September
Dell and financial partner Silver Lake orchestrated this monster acquisition, the largest tech deal ever and a transaction worth more than four times as much as any other buyout completed during 2016. The purchase brings various EMC subsidiaries, including SecureWorks and VMware, under Dell’s corporate umbrella.
2. Keurig Green Mountain—$14.2 billion public-to-private buyout in March
JAB Holding continued its consolidation of the coffee industry with this acquisition of Keurig, best known for its single-serving coffee products. BDT Capital Partners and Mondelez International also invested in the deal. Later in the year, JAB added Krispy Kreme to its portfolio for $1.35 billion.
3. MultiPlan—$7.5 billion secondary buyout in June
Hellman & Friedman gained control of the healthcare cost management company from previous owners Starr Investment and Partners Group, with Leonard Green & Partners and GIC making supporting investments. More on this deal below.
4. Veritas Technologies—$7.4 billion buyout in January
The Carlyle Group finalized its deal to complete the spin-off of Veritas, a data storage division, from previous corporate owner Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) this year at a bit of a discount from the $8 billion purchase price that was announced in August 2015.
5. ADT Security Services—$6.9 billion public-to-private buyout in May
Apollo Global Management got 2016 off to a rousing start when it struck an agreement to buy the home security provider in February at a 56% premium to its stock price. Apollo stayed busy through the rest of the year with billion-dollar-plus acquisitions of Rackspace, Outerwall and Apollo Education (no prior affiliation), among others.
1. MultiPlan—$7.5 billion secondary buyout in June
One of the year's biggest PE purchases also marks the year's biggest exit. Starr and Partners Group, which retained minority stakes, had acquired the business for $4.4 billion just two years ago from BC Partners and Silver Lake.
2. Strategic Hotels & Resorts—$6.5 billion acquisition in September
This deal is perhaps most notable for the speed with which it came about, as Blackstone offloaded Strategic to Anbang Insurance Group less than 10 months after acquiring the hotel chain.
3. Blue Coat Systems—$4.65 billion corporate acquisition in August
At first, it appeared this would be an exit by IPO: the Bain Capital-backed company had filed for a public offering less than two weeks before the announcement of its acquisition by Symantec. The sale isn’t a full exit for Bain Capital, as the firm agreed to reinvest in the combined Symantec-Blue Coast business.
4. Petco—$4.6 billion secondary buyout in January
While the price tag on CVC Capital Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s acquisition of the pet-product retailer wasn’t large enough to make our rundown of the biggest acquisitions, it does qualify sellers TPG and Leonard Green & Partners for this list. The two firms exited an investment from 2006 with the deal.
5. Sun Products—$3.6 billion corporate acquisition in September
A retailer of laundry and household brands, Sun Products was created by Vestar Capital in 2008 through the acquisition by Huish Detergents of Unilever’s North American Fabric Care Brands. Vestar sold the company to Henkel Consumer Goods, a subsidiary of Henkel (ETR: HEN).
1. Advent Global Private Equity VIII—closed on $13 billion in March
Advent International was able to raise the largest pool of capital in firm history in just about six months. The fund met such a significant level of demand thanks in large part to the firm’s recent knack for pumping out impressive returns.
2. TPG Partners VII—closed on $10.5 billion in May
Unlike most funds on this list, TPG’s latest raise actually represents a significant step down from the size of its previous vehicle, the monstrous $19.8 billion TPG Partners VI, which closed in 2008. But it’s still one of the year’s biggest, and TPG has already but some of the capital to use for big-name investments like Cirque du Soleil.
3. Green Equity Investors VII—closed on $9.6 billion in June
The latest fund from Leonard Green & Partners is easily the firm’s largest yet, surpassing its predecessor by more than $3 billion. LGP’s seventh flagship fund includes a $500 million commitment from the firm’s partners.
4. Apax Partners IX—closed on $9 billion in December
The British investor snuck its newest vehicle just under the 2016 wire, announcing its close five days before Christmas. The oversubscribed fund will be used to invest in Apax’s preferred sectors of tech, telecommunications, services, healthcare and consumer industries.
It took a mere four months for Cinven to collect capital for its latest offering, the closing of which came just a week after the Brexit vote. The fund will be used primarily for big deals, with a preference for equity investments of at least €100 million.
Click here to read more of our 2016 Year in Review content.