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Breaking down 2018’s top 5 PE investors in IT

Our 2018 Annual Global League Tables report contains dozens of different rankings of PE firms, VC firms, law firms, accountants and banks. We dove into the world’s top PE investors in IT.

Our 2018 Annual Global League Tables report contains dozens of different rankings of PE firms, VC firms, law firms, accountants and banks, using PitchBook data to determine the busiest investors and advisors of last year across any number of criteria. That includes breakdowns of which private equity firms have made the most investments in sectors like energy, healthcare and financial services.

No sector has been hotter for PE in recent years, though, than IT. So, using data from the Global League Tables report, let’s take a closer look at the top five firms on last year’s list of the most active investors in the space (deal count in parentheses):

1. Hg (45)

The British firm has been busy since dropping the “Capital” from its old “HgCapital” name—when it comes to tech deals, busier than any other firm in the world. Hg targets software and other tech transactions across the US and Europe, using three separate funds to target large companies, mid-market companies and smaller businesses; it closed its latest large-market Saturn fund in October on £1.5 billion (about $2 billion). The firm’s software investments in 2018 included Allocate, IRIS and MediFox.

2. TA Associates (40)

TA Associates also finished 2018 in seventh place on the list of most active global PE investors across all sectors, higher than any other firm on this IT top five. Founded in Boston way back in 1968, the firm today targets growth and PE deals in the tech, healthcare, financial services, consumer and business services sectors. Last year it added IT companies like LegalZoom and Flexera to its portfolio.

3. Vista Equity Partners (34)

We’ve explored Vista’s history in depth in the past, so suffice it to say that the firm was one of the early converts to the idea that a tech-focused private equity shop could become one of the PE industry’s major players. With main offices in Austin and San Francisco, Vista’s buyout targets last year included Spredfast, a maker of social media marketing software, and LogicMonitor, which makes software for monitoring data centers.

4. Insight Venture Partners (30)

Headquartered in New York, Insight Venture Partners has been making VC, PE and growth investments in software and tech companies for nearly 25 years. A $1.16 billion acquisition of digital experience specialist Episerver was one of its highest-profile deals of 2018. And it wasn’t just dealmaking that kept the firm busy last year: Insight closed its 10th flagship fund on $6.3 billion in July.

5. Thoma Bravo (29)

Like Vista Equity Partners, in addition to making a lot of IT deals, Thoma Bravo also tends to participate in some big ones. The Chicago-based firm finalized its takeover of Barracuda Networks last February for $1.6 billion, and it bought Quorum Software from Silver Lake for a reported $740 million. And if the first couple months of the new year are any indication, it’s possible the tech-focused firm’s big 2018 was just a prelude to an even bigger 2019.

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    Written by Kevin Dowd

    Kevin Dowd wrote The Weekend Pitch newsletter for PitchBook, covering startups, buyouts and the rest of the private market.

    A native of the Pacific Northwest, he’s an alumnus of the University of Washington with a degree in creative writing and journalism. He enjoys books and basketball and, most especially, books about basketball. He feels uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person.

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