Knee replacement maker Biomet was top deal for 2014

Last year was good for private equity M&A, with volume increasing in the United States, according to data from Dealogic.

A total of 1,161 U.S. announced PE deals valued at about $267.3 billion were done as of Dec. 30, 2014, Dealogic said. That’s up from 1,130 transactions in 2013 that totaled about $256.5 billion, the data provider said.

Worldwide PE experienced the biggest change. The number of transactions fell by nearly 2 percent in 2014 while deal values rose nearly 33 percent. Globally, there were 2,959 announced PE-backed transactions totaling roughly $603.1 billion, Dealogic said. That compares to 3,017 PE deals in 2013 that were valued at $453.6 billion.

Global M&A was also strong. There were 40,113 announced deals in 2014 totaling about $3.6 trillion. The world’s biggest M&A deal was the internal merger of Kinder Morgan Inc with Kinder Morgan Energy PartnersKinder Morgan Management and El Paso Pipeline Partners. Dealogic valued the transaction at $76.2 billion.

In 2014, the U.S. M&A market was notable for its high valuations and ample leverage that made it better to be a seller than a buyer. “Pricing was way high, partially driven by cheap and easy debt and partially by capital overhang,” one LP said.

A private equity executive said he hoped for a market jolt in 2015 that would normalize the M&A market “with valuations that make sense for buyers.”

The largest global PE deal was KKR’s $24.1 billion sale of its remaining stake in Alliance Boots to Walgreens.

Here are the top five U.S. private equity deals for 2014, according to Dealogic.

1. Biomet. The year’s top U.S. PE deal was the sale of Biomet, the fourth largest provider of orthopedic products, to Zimmer Holdings in a deal valued at $13.4 billion. The sale provided an exit for Blackstone, Goldman Sachs’ PE group, KKR and TPG Capital, which acquired Biomet in 2007 for $11.3 billion. The firms made about 1.5x their money with the sale, the New York Times reported.

2. PetSmart. In second place is the $8.7 billion sale of PetSmart to a PE group led by BC Partners. Other buyers included Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, StepStone and Longview Asset Management.

3. IndCor Properties. Blackstone in December agreed to sell IndCor Properties to GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Dealogic valued the deal at $8.1 billion. IndCor owns and operates a portfolio of 117 million square feet of industrial space in markets throughout the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.

4. Athlon Energy. In fourth place is Encana’s $6.83 billion offer to buy Athlon Energy. The deal was the biggest announced purchase of a U.S. crude and natural gas producer by a Canadian company, Bloomberg News said in September. Apollo Global Management was Athlon’s largest shareholder, Bloomberg said.

5. Nuveen Investments. Rounding out the top five was Madison Dearborn’s sale of Nuveen Investments. In October, TIAA-CREF closed its $6.25 billion buy of Nuveen Investments, the Chicago asset manager. MDP led a group of investors to buy Nuveen in 2007 for $6.3 billion.

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