Blackstone emerges as year’s busiest deal-maker

The Blackstone Group had a very busy 2015.

The New York-based asset management firm was the year’s single busiest deal-maker, deploying more capital than any other buyout shop, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

For the year, Blackstone posted 16 U.S. private equity M&A transactions with a combined total value of $21.7 billion, Thomson Reuters said. The data includes only U.S. announced acquisitions as of December 21.

Club deals — where a group of investors come together to make an acquisition — actually produced more M&A deals in 2015 than Blackstone, with a combined valuation far outpacing Blackstone.

There were 163 club deals in 2015, valued at $72.5 billion, Thomson Reuters said. This compares to last year, which saw 206 investor group deals totaling $21.9 billion.

Altice NV’s $18.1 billion buy of Cablevision Systems Corp emerged as the top U.S. club deal, Thomson Reuters said. BC Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board also took part in the deal, agreeing in October to buy a $1 billion stake in Cablevision.

For its part, Blackstone participated in six club deals in 2015, plus 16 M&A deals on its own, for a grand total of 22 transactions, Thomson Reuters said. On December 20, Blackstone and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec closed their $5.3 billion buy of Peter Cooper Village Stuyvesant Town, which Thomson Reuters also considers a club deal.

In terms of capital deployed, Lone Star Funds ranked third with two U.S. announced M&A deals totaling $7.37 billion. Vista Equity Partners placed fourth with eight deals at $6.3 billion. Silver Lake took fifth with three transactions valued at $5.37 billion.

Busy, busy

The very acquisitive Riverside Company came in third behind Blackstone and club deals for number of transactions. Riverside had 13 transactions valued at $10.6 million, Thomson Reuters said. (Note: Many firms do not disclose financial terms of their deals. Riverside’s 13 deals likely have a much higher valuation.) Baceline Investments LLC and Vista Equity tied for fourth with eight deals each. However, Baceline’s eight deals were valued at $52.2 million, while Vista Equity deployed $6.3 billion with its eight transactions.

Top deal-makers of 2015

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