Maitland/AMO Private Equity Monitor – 2021 Wrapped Up

23rd December 2021

Dear readers,

We hope you are all staying safe and managing to evade the Omicron virus in a way that allows you to spend time with your families during this holiday season. If not, then all we can say is hopefully brighter days are on the horizon!

After a year of distress and cheap valuations in 2020 due to the onset of the coronavirus, 2021 was a year of greater hope worldwide given the speed of vaccine rollout, with global markets recovering to close to pre-pandemic levels. While this has been tempered by the speed and ferocity of the spread of Omicron in recent weeks, booster programmes and a milder disease are offering hope of a quick(er) recovery.

Private equity firms have continued to invest and raise capital at a rapid rate, with megafunds from the like of Hellman & Friedman raising some of the largest pools of money ever seen in the industry. A group of investors also announced the biggest LBO in more than a decade with the acquisition of Medline Industries. Meanwhile, the private debt industry continues to grow alongside private equity, lending in areas that the banks are deeming too risky. The question of transparency in PE continues to be at the forefront of political discussion and changes to the way fees are charged could be closer than originally expected, while the allocation of capital to alternatives continues to rise, helped by proposed regulatory changes in countries like the UK.

2022 could be a defining year for the growth of private equity – retail investors and HNWIs are likely to want to grab a piece of the pie, while pension funds and insurance companies looking for returns which aren’t being generated by traditional markets like equities and fixed income could turn to private equity, real estate and particularly infrastructure given the level of investment expected from the US and others. We look forward to seeing what happens next!

With our best wishes for the holiday season.

Xinyi, Andrew and Finlay – your Maitland/AMO Private Equity Monitor team

Worth a read


NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT BILL

Private Equity News reported on the UK’s National Security and Investment Bill and its repercussions on private equity. If enacted, it would create wide-ranging powers to intervene in transactions, including in private equity, that pose a risk to the UK’s national security. The piece noted that most PE-backed acquisitions would be within its scope: acquisitions in mandatory sectors would have to be conditional on clearance.

SPACS WILL CHIP AWAY AT PRIVATE EQUITY DEAL FLOW

Looking at the sudden onslaught of SPACS onto the investment landscape, Private Equity international looked to comments from Ares Management’s CEO, who regarded SPACS as a potential threat to buying opportunities across private equity which could affect dealflow. The piece highlighted Michael Arougheti’s caution about what constitutes a good SPAC candidate and reasons behind the SPAC phenomenon.

PE's $300bn real estate investment

Real Estate rocketed: Bloomberg reported on  Real Capital Analytics which lockdowns pushed about $146bn of commercial real estate into distress, serious risk of bankruptcy or default at the end of last year, concentrated in hotels and retail. This fall has created an opportunity for PE. “There is a lot of money on the sidelines looking for yield and you have a market that will rebound quite considerably,” said Keith Breslauer, founder of Patron Capital Advisers LLP. Blackstone, Lone Star and KKR & Co. are just some of the few PE companies who are hoping to cash in on this sector, which Preqin suggests could be worth over $300bn.

THE BATTLE TO REFORM CGT CONTINUES....

Former Treasury minister David Gauke was interviewed in Private Equity News in which he discussed why carried interest and its comfortable relationship with the CGT might be due for a rude awakening. The piece noted that this was not a move that the one time Lord Chancellor would have welcomed – he noted the increasing competition within Europe with jurisdictions increasingly wanting to attract private equity managers. Interestingly Gauke was critical of the Chancellor’s decision to raise corporation tax from 17%-25%  warning that “the rise would reduce investment into the UK with negative consequences for productivity, wages and salaries.”

Think private equity, think Japan

Leo Lewis opined in the Financial Times, Japan is looking pretty good to global private equity funds at the moment. The piece looks at  the economic impact of the pandemic and notes that it has started to work out “very favourably” for private equity in Japan. Noting that the longer it takes for the world’s third largest economy to rebound to some semblance of normality, the faster will be the canter of global funds which have been waiting patiently in the land of the rising sun. Additionally, needs, well, must: Bain & Co reported that private equity collectively held a record $477bn of unspent capital focused on the Asia-Pacific region at the end of last year.

INVESTORS WANT MORE FROM PE

The Economist’s Schumpeter column wrote on the diminishing “mystique” of the private equity industry, due to the changing of the guard at the head of leading firms like Apollo and KKR, increasing transparency in the industry and a much bigger focus on ESG. The article argues that this is predominantly led by institutional investors who are keen to take advantage of the superior returns offered by private equity investments, but still maintain that the fees are justified, although the influx of retail investors is likely to increase demand for transparent reporting on IRRs.

Weaponised ESG

In an opinion piece for Private Equity News, Bain & Co’s Christophe De Vusser suggested that ESG for private equity firms has become more of a sword than a shield and gives firms a competitive edge in an increasingly busy marketplace. He suggested that companies which behave more sustainably and responsibly than industry rivals would be able to command higher multiples at exit, obtain better financing and avoid regulatory pitfalls.

Take the good with the bad

In an opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph, Ben Wright suggested  that critics of private equity should take a long look at the companies buyout firms are snapping up, many of which wouldn’t survive without the capital and leadership the industry provides. He argued that the reduction in the number of public companies has done little to dent the success of the economy in the UK and that private companies are often better managed away from the spotlight of public markets.

PRIVATE EQUITY UP TO ITS BAD OLD TRICKS

In fulminating form, Alex Brummer, City Editor of the Daily Mail, took a look at the “daring bid” by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for UK supermarket staple, Morrisons, and caustically opined that the private equity house had done the financial community a big favour insofar as it had exposed the “chasm between the debt-driven panjandrums of Mayfair and the broader corporate responsibilities.” A consistent critic of the industry, he opined that many companies which had been through the “marauding” private equity mill emerge “healthy” when restored to the public markets.

THE FUTURE'S CHEAP, THE FUTURE'S THE UK

Much has been written about the “boom” of private equity deals in the UK and the need for the buyout industry to deploy some of its $1.7tn of firepower in England’s green and pleasant land. But why? Well, according to the Financial Times, one reason practitioners provide  is thanks to quantitative easing, which has distorted markets and contributed to a long-term shift from public equity to private equity which naturally uses leverage to try and generated higher returns. Another factor is that the UK has a pro-business environment (good) with a relatively liberal attitude towards takeovers, GPs offering higher pay and less public scrutiny. But another reason is of course, the relative cheapness of equities compared with other markets (bad). Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, investors have pulled more than £29bn from UK equity incomes funds according to Morningstar. The US and Europe in consequence are looking a bit pricey. Of course there’s also the number of boards of public companies who happily take the share price pop that accompanies a bid – which has received criticism due to listed companies’ short-term approach and could mean the difference between a good quarter and a bad quarter.  But for the private equity firms and their advisers, the industry represents a neat and lasting solution to the excessive short-termism of the UK corporate sector.

SPEND SPEND SPEND!

Bloomberg  took a look at the private equity industry and opined that it was on a spending spree “like never before”. Investors, the piece says, are flush with cash and are looking to put the money to work [perhaps a UK supermarket or two? Ed.]. However it’s not all rosy or even rose champagne corks which are being popped: the greater success draws greater scrutiny from authorities globally which could potentially place a limit on future returns. The piece noted that the largest of the buyout names had moved into other areas: credit, real estate, infrastructure which have all led to a new record in fundraising.

SEVEN FIGURES FOR ESG

Bloomberg reported that private equity firms and hedge funds were significantly increasing pay for specialists in sustainable finance, propelling the practice into a completely different income bracket. Year-to-year pay levels are now easily up 50% to maybe even doubling, at most commanding 7-digits pounds in annual pay. There has been a clear shift towards a high demand for specialists, and recently Blackstone and Apollo have appointed executives focused on heading their sustainability efforts – the first such hire undertaken for Apollo. The ESG market meanwhile hurtles past $35 trillion, and the market expects that money to keep pouring in.


Wall of money


Hellman & Friedman Closes $24.4 Billion for Its Biggest Fund Yet

The largest fund close of the year, H&F has raised one of the biggest-ever pools of private equity capital, after investors committed $24.4 billion to its tenth flagship buyout fund. $1.8 billion of its own capital was pledged to Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners X, which was “significantly” oversubscribed. The closing of the fund brings its total assets under management to more than $80 billion.

$20bn from Silverlake for largest-ever tech-focused PE fund

In second place comes a deal from the start of the year, as technology-focused PE firm Silver Lake raises $20bn on its latest buyout fund, making it the largest ever fund of its kind. The firm is known for its stakes in Twitter, Airbnb and AMC Entertainment, and started raising the fund before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. It beat its target of $18bn, and is also 33% larger than its predecessor.

CD&R hauls in $16bn for latest flagship

Our third place of the year comes from CD&R, which raised around $16bn for its eleventh flagship vehicle, exceeding its $13bn target by the third quarter of 2020. There was a re-up of about 80% for the fund, and 55% of investors came from outside the US.

Oaktree closes Opportunties Fund XI at record $16bn

Los-Angeles based private equity firm, Oaktree Capital Management, has made a final close of its 11th distressed debt fund at $15.9bn, exceeding its original target of $15bn. The fund is the largest in Oaktree’s 25 year history.

EQT raises €15.7bn for fifth infrastructure fund

EQT has raised €15.7bn for its fifth infrastructure fund, which was backed by a global investor base consisting of pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, family offices and foundations.

EQT hits €15.6bn close on this year’s largest European fundraising

EQT has also closed a hard cap of €15.6bn on its ninth buyout fund. It has hugely surpassed its predecessor, which closed in 2018 at €10.75bn, and will target sectors within “megatrends and themes that have been accelerated during the pandemic”.

Partners Group closes $15bn buyout fund

Partners Group closed its fourth private equity buyout fund on $15bn. The remainder of fund will be deployed globally with a focus on mid-market companies across goods & products, health & life, services and technology.

KKR raises record $15bn for Asian fund

Also closing at $15bn, KKR’s Asian Fund IV looks to capitalise on current trends including rising consumption and urbanisation. $1.3bn will be invested alongside fund investors through commitments from KKR and its employees.

TA Associates closes latest growth fund at $12.5bn

Boston based TA Associates completed fundraising for its 14th flagship growth fund at $12.5bn, comfortably above the firm’s $10.5bn target.

New Mountain Capital raises over $10bn for deals

New York-based firm New Mountain Capital announced that it has raised more than $10bn across two new funds, including a $9.6bn flagship fund and a $640m pool of capital for non-controlling stakes in companies. The new flagship is its largest ever and is more than 50% larger than its predecessor, which closed on $6.15bn in 2017.

Carlyle’s AlpInvest raises $9bn for latest secondaries fund

Fresh from the end of the year, Carlyle’s AlpInvest has raised $9bn for its seventh secondaries round, exceeding its $8bn target. It has also pulled in a further $1.2bn for co-investment opportunities alongside the fund. AlpInvest VII will seek to acquire positions in existing private equity funds in the secondaries market through both the acquisition of fund interests and GP-centered investments.

General Atlantic collects $7.8bn for latest commingled fund

And finally, General Atlantic has raised $7.8bn in its latest commingled growth fund, surpassing its target of $5bn and is double the size of its predecessor. The firm now has a total of $23.8bn to invest across its four main capital pools over its five core sectors: consumer, financial servicers, healthcare, life sciences, and technology.


Deal chart


Acquisition TargetBuyerSellerValueDate AnnouncedRegionSector
Medline IndustriesBlackstone, Carlyle, Hellman & Friedman-$34bn07/06/2021USHealthcare
Onboard Dynamics LLCBP Energy Partners-$30bn25/11/2021USEnergy
McAfeeAdvent International, PermiraTPG, Intel$14bn08/11/2021USTMT
Athene HoldingApollo Global Management-$11bn08/03/2021USInsurance
AldevronDanaherEQTc. $9.6bn18/06/2021USBiotech
Wm Morrison SupermarketsCD&R-led consortium-$9.4bn02/10/2021UKRetail
Ardagh GroupGores Group-$8.5bn23/02/2021LuxembourgPackaging
Wolt EnterprisesDoorDashEQT$8bn10/11/2021FinlandFood delivery
InmarsatViasatApax, CPPIB, OTPP, Warburg Pincus$7.3bn09/11/2021UKSatellites
InovalonNordic Capital, Insight Partners, 22C Capital-c. $7.3bn19/08/2021USTMT
EQT ExeterAsian SWFEQT AB$6.8bn04/11/2021USReal Estate
MBCC GroupSika AGLone Star$6bn12/11/2021FranceConstruction

Movers and Shakers


UK & Europe

TA Associates has promoted its managing partner Ajit Nedungadi to CEO amid a string of global promotions.

Patrick de la Chevardière, the former CFO at French oil company Total, is joining Tikehau Capital’s private equity strategic advisory committee.

Marty Chavez, the former CFO at Goldman Sachs, has joined investment firm Sixth Street Partners in a senior role.

HIG Capital has hired Ignacio Blasco from Houlihan Lokey as managing director of its WhiteHorse direct lending team based in Madrid

Blackstone has appointed Paul Morrissey, a venture capital executive to lead its growth investing business in Europe. Previously, Morrissey was at Battery Ventures where he was a partner and helped establish its London office.

Former CEO of BPLord Browne has joined General Atlantic as a senior adviser, where he will advise the private equity firm on ESG considerations

BGF has promoted Andy Gregory to Chief Investment Officer. Previously, Gregory was head of investments for UK & Ireland and BGF’s regional director for the North of England

KKR has appointed Ajay Kavan as a senior adviser in Europe, supporting the firm’s pan-European investments in technology and digitally-enabled businesses. Previously he served as CEO of Matches Fashion

LGT Capital Partners has appointed Mark Miller as head of LGT, succeeding current CEO, Mark White. Previously, Miller had been head of UK business development at LGT.

North America

Jay Clayton, former Chair of the SEC, has been appointed as Apollo Global Management’s new Lead Independent Director

Former US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan will join Solamere Capital after partnering with the firm last year on the launch of a SPAC

Apollo Global Management has hired Wall Street veteran William Lewis Jr. from Lazard as a senior partner and member of its management committee.

Henry Kravis and George Roberts step down as Co-CEOs of KKR, succeeded by Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall


From the horse’s mouth...

“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home“- G.K. Chesterton, writer, philosopher and lay theologian

I love the Christmas-tide, and yet, I notice this, each year I live; I always like the gifts I get, but how I love the gifts I give!”- Carolyn Wells, American writer and poet 

Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.” – Pope John XXIII