Private equity fundraising continued to be strong in 2014, while the value of buyout deals reached its highest level since 2007 and exits hit an all-time high, said two new reports from alternative investment research firm Preqin.
The global private equity fundraising market had a total of $486 billion in capital commitments in 2014 as of Dec. 31, well on track to match the $531 billion in capital raised in 2013. Preqin estimates the 2014 figure will increase 10% to 20% as more information becomes available.
The number of funds, however, dropped. For example, in North America-focused private equity, 525 funds closed in 2014, securing an aggregate $282 billion; the previous year, 634 funds closed that secured $332 billion.
The largest fund that closed in 2014 was buyout fund Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VIII, with a final close of $10.9 billion.
In another report focused on buyout deals and exits, Preqin said there was an all-time high 1,604 exits valued at $428 billion in 2014 for private equity buyout fund managers. In 2013, there were 1,550 exits valued at $330 billion.
Globally, there were 3,423 private equity-backed buyout deals worth an aggregate $332 billion announced in 2014, a 10% increase over the 3,260 deals worth an aggregate $302 billion announced the year before. It is the greatest aggregate deal value since before the global financial crisis in 2007, when 3,663 deals worth an aggregate $685 billion were announced.
The largest private equity-backed buyout deal in 2014 was the $11.5 billion merger between 3G Capital-backed Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Tim Hortons Inc., which closed on Dec. 15.