Since the start of last September, five different private equity firms had closed new buyout funds with more than $5 billion in commitments, according to the PitchBook Platform. Make it six. Platinum Equity has joined the club, as the firm announced Monday the close of its fourth flagship fund on $6.5 billion, by far the largest vehicle in firm history.
Platinum will use the fresh capital to continue its strategy of pursuing corporate carveouts, public-to-private buyouts and other specialty acquisitions, including recent major additions like the former Network Power division of Emerson (NYSE: EMR) for $4 billion.
Soon, Platinum and the rest of the firms to raise recent mega-funds will have even more company—an unusual amount, in fact. Vista Equity Partners has already raised nearly $10.5 billion for its latest fund, with a final close expected before long. Apollo Global Management is closing in on a $20 billion vehicle. And other investors including Silver Lake, KKR and Insight Venture Partners are currently raising funds expected to top the $5 billion mark.
Why the increase in fund sizes across the private equity spectrum? One reason is simple cyclicality; another is that some LPs are slimming their lists of firms that they’re working with. (We’ve got more insight on the trend, plus a plethora of other data and analysis on the current state of the market, in our 2016 Annual PE & VC Fundraising Report.)
For Platinum, meanwhile, the oversubscribed Fund IV is a sign of strong investor response to the firm’s previous vehicles—response that’s strong for good reason. Here’s a look at the performance of the previous three funds in the firm’s primary buyout series, including some eye-popping IRRs (fund returns data as of 3Q):
Platinum was founded in 1995 by Tom Gores— the owner of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons—whose brother, Alec Gores, runs The Gores Group, another private equity firm. Tom’s shop completed 11 investments last year, a healthy figure but well below Platinum’s record high of 19 new deals done in 2010. In terms of sector, nearly half of Platinum’s portfolio additions since its founding have been in the B2B space, with the majority of the rest in either IT or B2C.
It was a busy Monday for the firm. In addition to closing its latest fund, Platinum has also announced plans to acquire from Staples the office supplier’s operations in Australia and New Zealand for an undisclosed amount. The news comes about two weeks after Staples completed the sale of its European division to Cerberus Capital Management in a separate deal.
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Article by Kevin Dowd, PitchBook