The Private Equity Review: Editor's Preface
The 11th edition of The Private Equity Review comes on the heels of a record-breaking year for dealmakers in 2021. Despite the continued impact of the global covid-19 pandemic, the volume and value of both US and global buyouts soared to all-time highs in 2021, with more than US$1 trillion of global activity attributed to private equity sponsors – at roughly 25 per cent of global deal value, the highest share ever. Deal activity was propelled by a confluence of factors, including favourable macroeconomic conditions leading to increased confidence in boardrooms, accommodating central bank policies, an abundance of cheap financing, robust stock markets, substantial corporate cash and the pace of innovation across industries. IPO and merger and acquisition activity by special purpose acquisition corporations (SPACs), skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, with more than 300 de-SPAC transactions announced in 2021 for a total of over US$600 billion. Private equity (PE) sponsors also sought out larger public targets in record numbers, with overall take-private value eclipsing that of previous years. In keeping with the theme, sponsor-backed leveraged buyouts above US$1 billion peaked in 2021, as did exits above US$1 billion, in part due to more public exits with higher multiples fuelled by the boom in de-SPAC transactions and IPOs. With continued confidence in the performance of PE as an asset class, fundraising activity remained strong, with PE funds amassing aggregate capital of over US$1.3 trillion raised and record amounts of available capital ('dry powder') (one estimate puts the latter at over US$1.6 trillion).
In 2021, PE's enormous impact and the continuing creativity of PE dealmakers was demonstrated. Given PE funds' success, creativity and available capital, we are confident that PE's role in the global economy will continue to grow, not only in North America and western Europe, but also in developing and emerging markets in Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa, notwithstanding ongoing and potential political, regulatory and economic challenges.
PE 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 PE practitioners in 16 different countries, with observations and advice on PE deal-making and fundraising in each.
As PE has grown, it has also faced increased regulatory scrutiny throughout the world. Adding to this complexity, regulation of PE 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 11th 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 scarce and valuable time to share their expertise.
Stephen L Ritchie
Kirkland & Ellis LLP