New York-based KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) was the most active private equity fund in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal. Dealogic reports that KKR closed a total of 34 private equity deals in 2013, investing close to $17.5 billion of investor funds in a variety of companies.

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It was really no contest in the private equity sector 2013, as KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) was clearly the most active player. The Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG) was the second most active private equity fund, and they only made 27 deals in 2012.

Private equity deals scarce in 2013

A number of analysts have noted that the apparently inexhaustible stock market rally of the last couple of years has made private equity deals hard to come by. Although private equity purchases of companies or stakes in businesses grew by more than 20% in 2013 over a very slow 2012, the total number of PE deals is still down by almost two-thirds from 2007, based on transaction data provided by Dealogic.

Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG)’s co-CEO William Conway spoke at an investment conference earlier this month, and acknowledged that Carlyle was having difficulty buying up majority stakes in companies even though they had a nearly full war chest of investment funds. Mr. Conway also highlighted that Carlyle had still managed to produce strong returns by following a strategy of buying up minority stakes in companies.

Dealogic’s top five

Dealogic’s top five busiest PE funds in 2013 include:

#1 KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR): 34 deals, $17.4 billion

#2 Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG): 27 deals, $4.8 billion

#3 TPG: 26 deals, $11.2 billion

#4 Bain Capital Partners: 25 deals, $14 billion

#5 Insight Venture Management: 22 deals, $7.8 billion

Highest total dollar amount invested in KKR

Several private equity firms actually spent more than KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) in 2013, but on a smaller number of deals. Brazilian PE firm 3G Capital just closed one deal in 2013, but the concern invested $27.5 billion in its buyout of Heinz. Silver Lake only took on four deals in 2013, but including the mega Dell deal, they ended up investing more than $23.5 billion in private equity this year.