The ninth edition of The Private Equity Review follows another extremely active year for dealmakers in 2019. While the number and value of global private equity deals completed declined slightly from 2018, deal activity was still robust, weighted towards the upper end of the market, and included several large take-private transactions. Fundraising activity was also strong with aggregate capital raised just slightly below 2018’s record levels, as institutional investors remained extremely interested in private equity as an asset class because of its continued strong performance. That, combined with some caution due to an uncertain market environment, has resulted in private equity funds having significant amounts of available capital, or dry powder. This dry powder, together with competition from non-traditional dealmakers, such as sovereign wealth funds, family offices and pension funds, led to very competitive transactions being completed at increasing purchase price multiples. This has caused private equity firms to become even more creative as they seek opportunities in less competitive markets or in industries where they have unique expertise. Given private equity funds’ dry powder and creativity, we expect private equity will continue to play an important role in global financial markets, not only in North America and western Europe, but also in developing and emerging markets in Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa. In addition, we expect the trend of incumbent private equity firms and new players expanding into new and less established geographical markets to continue.
While there are potential headwinds – including trade tensions, the upcoming US election and an eventual end to one of the longest-running recoveries in US history – on the horizon for 2020 and beyond, we are confident that private equity will continue to play an important role in the global economy, and is likely to further expand its reach and influence.
Private equity professionals need practical and informed guidance from local practitioners about how to raise money and close deals in multiple jurisdictions. The Private Equity Review has been prepared with this need in mind. It contains contributions from leading private equity practitioners in 22 different countries, with observations and advice on private equity dealmaking and fundraising in their respective jurisdictions.
As private equity has grown, it has also faced increasing regulatory scrutiny throughout the world. Adding to this complexity, regulation of private equity is not uniform from country to country. As a result, the following chapters also include a brief discussion of these various regulatory regimes.
I want to thank everyone who contributed their time and labour to making this ninth edition of The Private Equity Review possible. Each of these contributors is a leader in their respective markets, so I appreciate that they have used their valuable and scarce time to share their expertise.
Stephen L Ritchie
Kirkland & Ellis LLP