The Top 6 Billion-Dollar US Buyout Funds Of The Past Five Years

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Any buyout fund closed in the past five years is still very much in its adolescence. Plenty of deals are yet to be done, both acquisitions and divestments, that will go a long way toward shaping the returns ultimately paid out to LPs.

But that doesn’t mean current data about how such private equity vehicles are performing is useless. In order to highlight some of the recently closed funds in the US that are tracking toward stellar returns, we examined the PitchBook Platform to isolate the billion-dollar buyout funds closed since the start of 2012 that have recorded the best TVPI multiples thus far.

We’ll take a closer look at each vehicle below, but first, here’s a chart of the six standouts (all multiples data current as of 4Q 2016):

Inside the funds

Sun Capital Partners VI

The data behind Sun Capital Partners’ latest vehicle may be more subject to change than most: the fund still has nearly $1.6 billion in dry powder to be deployed, per PitchBook data, just about 75% of its total commitments. But while its impressive performance should be taken with a grain of salt, that doesn’t mean the fund should be disregarded altogether. Preferring middle-market investments of up to $300 million, Sun Capital has pursued a strategy of quantity over size with the fund, having already completed upward of 30 deals.

Thoma Bravo Fund X

Thoma Bravo’s 2012 fund is much further along in its lifecycle than Sun Capital’s latest effort, which makes sense: Thoma Bravo has already closed two more flagship vehicles with more than $11 billion in total commitments since the close of its Fund X. Some of that, to be sure, is the firm taking advantage of the stellar performance of its 10 th flagship vehicle. Thoma Bravo’s most significant deals with this fund include billion-dollar takeovers of Blue Coat Systems, Deltek and Digital Insight, each of which the firm has since sold at impressive premiums.

Vista Equity Partners Fund IV

Like the previous Thoma Bravo fund, more than 85% of the capital from Vista’s fourth flagship fund has already been deployed. Recent events make one investment particularly notable: The firm’s buyout of Vivid Seats, a secondary ticket seller for sports and other entertainment, for a reported $850 million in March 2016. After fewer than 15 months of ownership, Vista is reportedly set to sell the business to GTCR, with earlier media reports of a possible sale indicating the company’s enterprise value could reach $1.5 billion—a figure that would only further stoke Vista’s returns.

Harvest Partners VI

While the 1.61x TVPI and 23.5% IRR are impressive, they don’t even come close to making this the most successful vehicle in Harvest Partners history. That honor goes to the middle-market investor’s fourth flagship fund, a 2002 vehicle that logged eye-popping multiples of 2.24x and 34.7%, respectively. Its sixth vehicle, though, has been no slouch. Many of Harvest Partners’ investments with the fund were add-ons, and plenty of those occurred in the healthcare space: 36% of the fund’s investments are in the clinics & outpatient services sector, per PitchBook data.

KPS Special Situations Fund IV

With more than 90% of its powder still dry, the New York-based investor’s latest fund is still a young one. It’s already been active, though: KPS deployed capital from the vehicle on a reported $438 million acquisition of Anchor Glass—which the firm has since exited to CVC Capital Partners for more than $1 billion—and is now set to acquire golf brand TaylorMade from adidas for a total consideration of $425 million.

Platinum Equity Capital Partners III

Platinum Equity largely put this $3.75 billion fund to use investing in physical assets, whether that be BlueLine Rental, an equipment provider for the construction and engineering fields, or AEP River Operations, a supplier of river transportation services in the US. A full 20% of the fund’s investments have been in logistics companies, and another 15% in the B2B machinery space. With impressive early returns on its third flagship fund, Platinum was able to greatly upsize its fourth, closing its latest namesake buyout fund on $6.5 billion earlier this year.

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Article by Kevin Dowd, PitchBook

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