The Top Ten Private Equity Deals of 2010

Private equity deals rebounded with a bang in 2010.

In fact, for the first time since 2007, buyout transactions globally are expected to hit more than $200 billion, according to Preqin.

So far there have been 2,028 PE deals this year, valued at $196.7 billion as of Dec. 20. This compares to last year when 1,530 deals raised $87.6 billion for all of 2009. This year’s totals also beat out 2008’s when there were 2,117 PE transactions, valued at $180.2 billion, according to Preqin data.

However, the numbers are still way below the bubble period of 2006 and 2007. There were 2,845 global buyouts in 2007 that raised $628.5 billion, Preqin says. In 2006, PE firms took part in 2,438 deals, valued at $642.6 billion.

So what were the biggest PE deals of 2010? Here’s our list of the top 10 PE deals, from smallest to biggest.

[slide title=”No. 10: Syniverse Technologies”]

This year’s 10th largest deal comes from the Carlyle Group, which, in October, agreed to buy Synverse Technologies for $31 a share or roughly $2.7 billion, according to Preqin. Synverse, of Tampa, Fla., makes mobile phone messaging and network technology.

[slide title=”No. 9: J. Crew”]
Who knew that preppy turtlenecks and pants would make J. Crew a hot M&A target again? They don’t even have Lady Gaga’s meat dress! But seriously, the sale of J. Crew to TPG and Leonard Green for about $3 billion ranked as the year’s ninth largest PE deal.

In November, TPG and Green agreed to pay $43.50 a share for J. Crew (CEO Millard Drexler is also a significant investor). However, J. Crew can still search out other offers and has until Jan. 15 to find a higher bid.

The deal marks the second time that TPG has owned J. Crew. TPG bought the retailer in 1997 and invested about $190 million of equity. J. Crew went public in 2006 but TPG didn’t sell shares and instead increased its stake. Once its lockup expired, TPG began selling J. Crew shares and offloaded the last of its stock in 2009.

[slide title=”No. 8: MultiPlan”]

The healthcare overhaul prompted a lot of deals in 2010. One came from MulitPlan, which in July, agreed to sell to BC Partners and Silver Lake Partners for $3.1 billion. Carlyle and Welsh Carson were the sellers. New York-based MultiPlan is a medical care provider that provides healthcare cost management services to insurers, third party administrators and HMOs. The sale closed in August.

[slide title=”No. 7: Sunrise Communications”]

Earlier this year, CVC Capital Partners bought Sunrise Communications, a Swiss provider of mobile, fixed networks and Internet services from TDC A/S. The deal was valued at CHF$3.3 billion, or US$3.273 billion.

[slide title=”No. 6: Interactive Data Corp.”]

The sixth biggest PE deal is Interactive Data Corp. Warburg Pincus and Silver Lake bought Interactive Data, a Bedford, Mass. provider of financial market data and services, for $3.4 billion. The seller was Pearson Plc, parent of the Financial Times.

[slide title=”No. 5: CommScope Corp.”]
Coming in at fifth place is Carlyle’s $3.9 billion offer for CommScope, the telecommunications equipment maker. Hickory, N.C.-based CommScope makes cables that underpin high-speed data networks, according to Dealbook. CommScope’s go-shop ended on Dec. 5 and the company didn’t receive any higher offers.

[slide title=”No. 4: Extended Stay”]
Earlier this year, the Blackstone Group acquired Extended Stay, an operator of mid-priced hotels, for the second time. But the situation was much different this time around.

Extended Stay filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 after Blackstone sold the company to the Lightstone Group for $8 billion (they bought it for $2 billion in 2004). Extended Stay, in June 2009, collapsed under its $7.6 billion in debt and filed for bankruptcy protection. In May 2010, a consortium of PE firms–including Blackstone, Centerbridge Partners, and Paulson & Co., bid $3.9 billion to beat out a rival group, comprised of TPG and Starwood Capital, to buy Extended Stay and bring it out bankruptcy.

[slide title=”No. 3: NBTY”]
Who knew vitamins could be so expensive? Over the summer, the Carlyle Group offered to by NBTY for $55 a share cash or about $4 billion. NBTY produces nutritional supplements and vitamins under its own name and brands like Solgar, Puritan’s Pride and Nature’s Bounty. Carlyle beat out rivals like Blackstone, Bain and TPG to buy NBTY and reportedly paid a little over 8x Ebitda. The deal closed in October.

[slide title=”No. 2: Tomkins Plc”]
In July, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Onex Corp. made a $4.6 billion offer to buy Tomkins, a British engineering and manufacturing company. CPPIB and Onex invested $2.2 billion equity in the deal ($1.1 billion came from Onex). The deal closed in September.

[slide title=”No. 1: Del Monte”]
In November, KKR led an investor group to buy Del Monte Foods in a $5.3 billion deal that would give it control of brands like Meow Mix and Kibbles ‘n’ Bits. The group includes Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners. The sale isn’t a done deal. Del Monte has a go-shop and can search for another buyer until Jan. 8.

If the KKR-led sale does go through, the transaction would be the latest time that Del Monte has been owned by a PE firm. In 1997, TPG bought the company for $800 million and took it public in 1999.