Which PE Firm Was The Biggest Dealmaker Of 2012? The Winner Is…

David Rubenstein, a Carlyle Group co-founder

It’s that time of year again.

There’s only a few weeks left in 2012 and it’s time to find out which PE firm was the most active, and biggest, dealmaker this year. To do this, we’re looking at which firm took part in the most transactions, as a buyer and a seller, and which accumulated the most in terms of deal value.

The result is no surprise. The winner of the most active PE firm this year hails from Washington D.C. The Carlyle Group shrugged off a lackluster IPO in May to take part in more transactions this year than any other firm, according to data from Dealogic. Carlyle posted 101 global announced mergers, valued at $49.5 billion, Dealogic says. This is 36% more–in terms of the number of deals– than the runner up, Bain Capital, which did 74 deals valued at $13.2 billion.

Which firm was the biggest dealmaker? Here are the results according to Dealogic.

[slideshow]

[slide title="5. Apollo Global Management"]

Coming in fifth place is the PE firm led by Leon Black. New York-based Apollo Global took part in 27 global announced mergers, valued at about $18.9 billion, Dealogic says.

Apollo, in November, agreed to spend $2.5 billion to buy the McGraw-Hill Education business. Apollo is one of the sellers of AMC Entertainment. Dalian Wanga Group, a Chinese conglomerate, inked a $2.6 billion deal for AMC in May. Another deal came in July when Verizon Communications closed its $612 million buy of Hughes Telematics. Hughes was majority owned by Apollo.

[slide title="4. CVC Capital Partners"]

CVC Capital Partners, the London PE firm, ranks fourth with 51 transactions valued at $19.2 billion, according to Dealogic.

CVC has been both a buyer and seller this year. In June, Molson Coors closed their buy of StarBev, an Eastern European brewer from CVC. Dealogic values the deal at $3.5 billion. CVC, in February, said it would buy Ahlsell, a Nordic construction products and machinery distributor, from Cinven and Goldman for 1.8 billion Euros ($2.4 billion). CVC also sold a 21% stake in Formula 1 to Waddell & Reed, Norges Bank and BlackRock for $1.6 billion in May.

[slide title="3. Highstar Capital"]

Smack in the middle of all the dealmaking is Highstar Capital, of New York, which invests in energy, environmental services and transportation. Highstar only did 12 deals in 2012 but that totaled $19.6 billion, Dealogic says.

Highstar, in July, inked a roughly $1.9 billion buy of the U.S. solid waste business of Veolia Environnement. Highstar is an investor of Kinder Morgan Inc, which owns the general partner interest of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) and El Paso Pipeline Partners. KMP, in August, announced it acquired 100% of Tennessee Gas Pipeline and a 50% stake in El Paso Natural Gas pipeline from Kinder Morgan for about $6.22 billion.

Estre Ambiental also acquired an 11% stake in Star Atlantic Waste Holdings, a Highstar portfolio company, this year.

[slide title="2. Goldman Sachs Capital Partners"]

In second place is Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. GS Capital took part in 40 deals in 2012, totaling $39.6 billion, Dealogic says.

GS Capital, the private equity unit of Goldman, offloaded its investment in Cequel Communications Holding, which does business as Suddenlink. BC Partners and CPP Investment Board closed their $6.6 billion buy of Suddenlink in November.

GS Capital was also a buyer this year. Advent and GS Capital acquired TransUnion for $3 billion in April (TransUnion in October announced plans to issue $400 million dividend to shareholders). In May, GS Capital and P2 Capital unveiled a $1.1 billion deal for Interline Brands, a distributor and direct marketer of maintenance, repair and operations products. GS Capital is injecting $369.3 million equity into the deal, peHUB has reported.

[slide title="1. The Carlyle Group"]

Carlyle, as expected, emerged the winner this year. The Washington-based private equity firm not only did the most transactions, 101, but their deals represented a total value of $49.5 billion. This is 25% more than runner up, GS Capital.

Carlyle’s deals range from small to large. In November, NBTY, a Carlyle portfolio company, acquired Balance Bar Co. from Brynwood Partners. (Thomson Reuters has valued the deal at $78 million.) Carlyle, in October, completed their $3.3 billion buy of Getty Images. In August, Carlyle announced its $4.9 billion buy of DuPont’s performance coatings business.

The PE firm cofounded by William Conway, Daniel D’Aniello and David Rubenstein in 1987 was also a seller this year. In July, Carlyle sold Talaris to GLORY of Japan for $1 billion. Carlyle was also one of the sellers of AMC Entertainment.

[/slideshow]

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