Slideshow: Here’s the Top 10 PE-Backed Deals in 2011

This year started off strong before market volatility caused M&A to fizzle.

Still, deal value rose. So far this year there 9,887 deals valued at $997.3 billion, according to Dec. 20 data from Dealogic. This is up 10.4% from last year’s 9,965 deals that were valued at $893.5 billion.

Financial sponsors took part in 623 transactions so far in 2011, valued at roughly $90.3 billion. This is down from 2010 when PE-backed deals numbered 640 valued at roughly $94.7 billion.

Who was the most active? Riverside Co. of course. The private equity firm announced 13 deals in 2011, while TPG Capital came in second with 11 deals. Meanwhile, Bain Capital had 10 for third place, according to Dealogic.

Which PE firm was the biggest spender? That’s completely different. KKR ranked No. 1 with 6 deals valued at roughly $13.3 billion, Dealogic says. KKR’s deals include the $7.2 billion buy of Samson Investment Co. in November and Ipreo in August. In second place is The Blackstone Group which had three transactions valued at $12.4 billion. This includes the $3 billion buy of Emdeon and Centro Properties.

Here’s a list of the top 10 PE-backed deals this year. Happy Holidays!

[slideshow]

[slide title= “No. 10 Emdeon” ]

In November, Blackstone completed its $3 billion buy of Emdeon. The sellers include General Atlantic and Hellman & Friedman (Hellman is retaining a significant minority stake).

Nashville-based Emdeon is a healthcare revenue and payment cycle management company.

[slide title=” No. 9: International Coal Group “]

Wilbur Ross owned a coal company. That’s past tense. In June, Arch Coal completed its buy of International Coal in a deal valued at $3.4 billion.

Ross began forming International coal in 2004 when his PE firm, W.L. Ross Group, bought Horizon Natural Resources out of bankruptcy for $786 million, according to Dealbook. Ross was International Coal’s second largest shareholder in May, owning about 6%.

[slide title=” No. 8:  Hilcorp Resources”]

In June, Hilcorp Resources agreed to sell its assets in Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas to Marathon Oil in a deal valued at $3.5 billion. Hilcorp was a joint venture between KKR and Hilcorp Energy.

According to Dealbook, KKR invested $400 million for a 40% stake in Hilcorp a year ago.

[slide title=” No. 7:  PPD”]

The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman, in October, agreed to buy PPD, a contract research company, for $3.9 billion.

The deal, which closed in December. Washington D.C.-based Carlyle was one of the more active acquirers in 2011 and ranked 6th in terms of financial sponsors with six deals valued at roughly $4 billion.

[slide title=”  No. 6 Diversey Holdings “]

In June, Sealed Air announced a $4.3 billion deal for Diversey Holdings, which offers disinfectants and cleaning solutions. Clayton, Dublier & Rice is an investor in Diversey Holdings.

Sealed Air closed the deal in October 2011.

[slide title=”  No. 6: Graham Packaging”]

Blackstone finally exited Graham Packaging in September after over a decade.

In June, the Reynolds Group trumped a bid from Silgan Holdings to buy Graham Packaging, which is owned by the Blackstone Group (Reynolds, in turn, is owned by the Rank Group). Reynolds bid $25 a share, or about $4.5 billion, including debt.

Silgan Holdings, in April, had offered to buy Graham Packaging for about $1.3 billion in cash and stock. Including debt, the transaction was valued at about $4.1 billion.

York, Pa.-based Graham makes plastic containers that are used for various products including sports drinks, nutritional supplements and beer. The company is a very long hold for Blackstone, which acquired the Graham in 1998 in a $997 million deal (Blackstone reportedly invested $208.3 million equity). Typically PE firms own portfolio companies for 5 to 7 years but Blackstone has held onto Graham for roughly 13 years.

[slide title= “No. 4: Kinetic Concepts”]

In November, Apax Partners completed its $6.1 billion buy if Kinetic, a San Antonio wound care company. Other investors include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

The deal comes as Apax is nearing the halfway mark for its 9 billion Euros fund, according to Bloomberg. A first close is expected in January.

[slide title= “No. 3: Samson Investments”]

In one of the year’s biggest deals, KKR led an investor group to buy Samson Investment for about $7 billion.

Samson, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, operates more than 4,000 oil wells and has interests in more than 11,000 wells.

[slide title= “No. 2:  Centro Properties Group”]

For most of 2011, Blackstone’s $9.4 billion buy of Centro Properties Group was the big enchilada of PE-backed M&A. The deal, valued at $9.4 billion, was the largest for Blackstone since 2007. The acquisition includes 588 malls.

[slide title= “No. 1: El Paso Corp.”]

In October, Kinder Morgan agreed to buy El Paso Corp. for about $38 billion, including debt ($21.1 billion without debt).

Kinder Morgan’s owners include the Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs and Highstar Capital. The deal is expected to close in early 2012.

[/slideshow]