There are 15 biggest private equity firms listed in our list. Private equity firms use investment capital from institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals to acquire company equity stakes. They employ strategies like leveraged buyouts and venture capital to achieve this. These firms typically have long-term investment horizons, spanning five to seven years.

Once they acquire ownership in a company, private equity firms aim to generate profits either by selling the company outright or by starting an initial public offering (IPO). For particularly large investments, these firms often collaborate with other private equity firms to raise the required capital and mitigate their risks. Most firms specialize in specific industries or investment strategies where they possess expertise.

What Is A Private Equity Firm?

Private equity encompasses the firms that combine investors’ funds to invest in undervalued companies and assets. The primary goal is to deliver substantial returns to investors by appointing skilled management teams to oversee these entities away from public market scrutiny.

These investment targets may be either public or private, with public entities typically being taken private by the overseeing private equity firm.

Why Are Private Equity Firms Important?

Private equity involves ownership or stakes in entities that are not publicly traded. This form of investment capital is provided by firms that acquire shares in private companies or take control of public companies. They intend to privatize these companies and delist them from stock exchanges. Additionally, private equity can be sourced from high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) who are seeking substantial returns.

The private equity sector comprises institutional investors like pension funds and sizable private equity firms funded by accredited investors. Private equity often involves direct investment to influence or control a company’s operations, which often requires significant capital, resulting in the industry’s dominance by well-funded budgets.

The minimum investment amount for accredited investors can vary depending on the firm and fund, ranging from $250,000 to several million dollars.

List Of The 15 Biggest Private Equity Firms

1. TA Associates

TA is a prominent global private equity firm that invests in expanding companies with robust business models across five key industries: 

  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Consumer
  • Business services. 

Since its establishment in 1968, the firm has raised $65 billion in capital and has invested in over 560 companies worldwide. Led by a team of more than 150 industry-specialized investment professionals, TA actively builds long-term partnerships with founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams to foster the growth of portfolio companies and create enduring value. 

The firm’s dedicated Strategic Resource Group and Capital Markets Group provide additional growth-oriented resources and support. It includes strategic advice, operational guidance, and assistance in structuring and financing transactions. With offices in Boston, Menlo Park, Austin, London, Mumbai, and Hong Kong, TA is well-positioned to pursue its investment objectives globally.

2. Hg

Hg is a prominent investor in European and Trans-Atlantic software and businesses. They specialize in aiding the development of industry-leading enterprises that offer crucial software applications or workflow services to help clients in achieving a more automated workplace. Hg provides robust assistance to entrepreneurial leaders aiming to effectively scale their businesses by blending deep-end market expertise with top-tier operational resources.

The firm has led over 200 investments in the software and service sector. It is currently invested in over 50 businesses, and its large-cap strategy, Saturn, is involved in Europe’s top three largest software buyouts. 

Hg’s robust capital base, with over $20 billion raised for new investments in the past year. It has contributed to its recognition as one of the top 10 PE firms globally, as measured by fundraising totals of private equity’s largest firms over the past five years (PEI 300). It currently supports a portfolio worth over $125 billion in aggregate enterprise value, with consistent revenue growth exceeding 20% annually and employing over 100,000 individuals.

3. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is a private investment firm with a strategy focused on enhancing the profitability and strength of businesses across diverse industries. It includes the following:

  • Industrials
  • Healthcare
  • Business services
  • Consumer
  • Technology
  • Financial services. 

Since its inception in 1978, CD&R has overseen the investment of more than $40 billion in over 100 companies, with a total transaction value exceeding $175 billion. The firm emphasizes on building more robust, resilient businesses through strategic investments and operational improvements to generate sustainable long-term value.

4. Thoma Bravo

Thoma Bravo is a prominent software investor managing assets totaling over $131 billion as of June 30, 2023. The firm is dedicated to invest in and form meaningful partnerships with software and technology companies to drive operational performance, growth, and innovation. 

With a track record encompassing more than 450 investments in software and technology companies, representing over $250 billion in value, Thoma Bravo is recognized for its sector expertise and strategic and operational capabilities. The firm’s dedication to delivering exceptional value is clear in its emphasis on fostering growth and innovation within its portfolio companies. This commitment is supported by its profound industry insight and operational proficiency.

5. American Securities

Headquartered in New York with an office in Shanghai, American Securities is a leading U.S. private equity firm. It specializes in investments in market-leading North American companies with annual revenues typically ranging from $200 million to $2 billion. 

American Securities has a long history, dating back to its origins as a family office in 1947 and its establishment as a private equity firm in 1994. The firm’s investment philosophy revolves around fostering partnerships and dedicating the necessary resources to help each portfolio company realize its full potential. By focusing on collaboration and long-term value creation, this firm seeks to support sustainable growth and profitability across its diverse portfolio of companies.

6. Insight Partners

Insight Partners is a prominent global venture capital and private equity firm. It specializes in investments in high-growth technology startups and scale-up software companies driving transformative change in their respective industries. 

Since its founding in 1995, this firm has completed over 750 investments and supported more than 110 successful exits, including over 55 IPOs of portfolio companies. Insight Partners distinguishes itself by using data and pattern recognition to provide strategic support and scale exceptional companies at every growth cycle stage. Insight’s dedicated operations team, Insight Onsite, comprising over 130 operators, collaborates closely with portfolio companies to implement key growth initiatives across various functions. It includes talent, sales, marketing, product, engineering, and strategy. 

Additionally, Insight Partners offers Insight IGNITE, an enterprise technology network. It provides executives from established businesses access to peer collaboration and strategic insights, further enhancing the value proposition for its portfolio companies.

7. TPG Growth

TPG Growth, established in 2007, has a proven track record of success in meeting the unique needs of earlier-stage companies, ranging from traditional minority growth investments to growth buyouts and specialty capital. The firm’s seasoned team collaborates with innovative entrepreneurs, founders, and management teams to discover and invest in distinctive growth opportunities. They mainly focus on markets undergoing inflection points, disruption, or substantial change.  

TPG Growth sets itself apart by actively engaging in business development. It takes significant ownership stakes in a limited number of companies and adds value through operational expertise and strategic guidance. With $24 billion in assets under management, TPG Growth has strategically invested in companies such as Airbnb, Spotify, Uber, and Zscaler, contributing to their growth and success.

8. Summit Partners

Summit Partners is a global alternative investment firm managing over $37 billion in capital which is dedicated to growth equity, fixed income, and public equity opportunities. Since its establishment in 1984, Summit Partners has focused on teaming up with top-performing, profitable companies in technology, healthcare, and other growing sectors. They have invested in more than 550 companies so far.

The firm’s commitment to innovation and growth-oriented investing enables it to provide strategic guidance and operational support to accelerate portfolio company growth and enhance strategic value. Summit’s Peak Performance Group offers on-demand, growth-oriented support to portfolio companies across critical areas such as

  • Operations
  • Capital markets
  • Human capital
  • Technology
  • Data science further reinforces its value-added approach.

9. Accel-KKR

Accel-KKR is a technology-focused investment firm with cumulative capital commitments totaling $19 billion. Specializing in software and tech-enabled businesses poised for top-line and bottom-line growth, Accel-KKR emphasizes on building strong partnerships with portfolio company management teams to create value. 

The firm offers a broad range of capital solutions, including buyout capital, minority growth investments, and credit alternatives. It invests across various transaction types, including private company recapitalizations, divisional carve-outs, and going-private transactions. 

With offices in Menlo Park, Atlanta, London, and Mexico City, Accel-KKR leverages its extensive experience and network to provide strategic guidance and operational support to portfolio companies, driving growth and success.

10. Bain Capital (TIE)

Bain Capital is a leading private investment firm that manages approximately $175 billion in assets. Founded in 1984, the firm pioneered the value-added approach to investing and has been at the forefront of growth investing for nearly four decades. 

With a collaborative strategy focused on supporting innovative businesses, accelerating growth, and achieving scale, Bain Capital has a proven track record of investing in and building category-leading companies globally. The firm’s extensive reach across industries and geographies creates unique advantages for management teams as they expand into new markets and territories, positioning them for long-term success and sustainable growth.

11. Vista Equity Partners (TIE)

Vista Equity Partners is a global alternative asset manager specializing exclusively in enterprise software investments. It has completed over 600 private equity transactions, totaling nearly $300 billion in transaction value. With over $100 billion in assets under management, Vista has become a market leader in the software sector. 

The firm’s focused experience enables it to identify companies with product superiority and market leadership potential, executing value-creation strategies to drive revenue expansion and growth.

Vista’s ecosystem provides portfolio companies with access to knowledge and experience from peers throughout the portfolio, facilitating transformation and creating businesses with enduring market value. Offering a range of capital solutions, including convertible preferred equity offerings and traditional private equity buyouts, Vista aims to help today’s leading enterprise software businesses innovate, grow, and thrive through its permanent capital and credit offerings.

12. Francisco Partners

Francisco Partners (FP) stands out as a leading investment firm with a strong focus on technology. It is renowned for delivering remarkable returns through a highly adaptable approach. With nearly a quarter-century of experience, FP has invested in or acquired over 400 technology companies, earning recognition for its outstanding global industry performance. It has firmly established itself as a prominent player in the investment landscape, boasting approximately $45 billion in assets under management and $20 billion in available capital for investment.

Known for its expertise in divisional carve-outs, FP has become a preferred partner and buyer for corporations evaluating divestitures and partnerships. The firm operates with creativity and agility, excelling at identifying opportunities in emerging markets. 

Embracing values of transparency, collaboration, and action-orientedness, FP believes that its diverse team contributes to its success. Many of FP’s portfolio companies are recognized as top workplaces in their communities, reflecting the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

13. Oak Hill Capital Partners

Oak Hill Capital has built a legacy as a trusted private equity firm focusing on the North American middle market, spanning over 36 years. Founded in 1986 as Robert M. Bass’s family office, Oak Hill has a deep-rooted heritage reflected in its culture. It has a long history of collaborating with outstanding entrepreneurs and founder-owned businesses. 

The firm’s experienced team employs a specialized, theme-based investment approach, targeting sectors such as 

  • Business services
  • Industrials
  • Media and communications
  • Consumer industries. 

Actively collaborating with management, Oak Hill implements strategic and operational initiatives to enhance franchise value.

Since its inception, Oak Hill and its predecessors have raised over $20 billion in initial capital commitments and co-investments. They have invested in over 100 companies, with a combined enterprise value at acquisition of approximately $70 billion. Currently investing from its latest fund, Oak Hill Capital Partners Fund VI, the firm remains dedicated to supporting companies through their growth phases and creating lasting value.

14. Great Hill Partners

Great Hill Partners, based in Boston, is a private equity firm focused on investing in high-growth, disruptive companies across five core sectors: software, digital commerce, financial technology, healthcare, and digital infrastructure. With over 25 years of experience, the firm has raised over $12 billion across eight funds and invested in over 95 companies. It has built a strong track record of establishing long-term partnerships with founders and entrepreneurs, aiming to unlock the full potential of middle-market industry pioneers.

With a customized approach to each investment, Great Hill serves as a strategic partner to its portfolio companies’ management teams. The firm provides extensive executive networks, domain expertise, and strategic guidance to accelerate growth and enhance strategic value. 

Great Hill’s dedicated Growth team collaborates closely with investment teams and portfolio companies to optimize efforts across various areas. It includes go-to-market strategies, customer acquisition, product expansion, talent initiatives, geographic expansion, and strategic acquisitions.

15. Trilantic North America

Trilantic North America specializes in growth-focused middle-market private equity investments, primarily focusing on control and significant minority investments across North America, particularly in the business services and consumer sectors. Since 2004, the firm has invested $6.7 billion in capital into founder- and family-owned businesses operating in the middle and upper-middle markets. Trilantic North America has managed seven private equity fund families with aggregate capital commitments of $10.2 billion, investing in over 75 companies over the past 19 years.

Committed to leveraging its investment team’s expertise, Trilantic North America provides strategic guidance and creates value for its partner management teams. With a hands-on approach rooted in strong partnerships and a value-added mentality, the firm focuses on scaling growth across diverse industries. Additionally, Trilantic North America strongly emphasizes on job creation, with 43,000 jobs added across its portfolio companies in the past year.

Final Thoughts

Examining the investment strategies laid out by private equity firms at the beginning of a year is often a reliable indicator of market trends.

LockRoom has played a pivotal role in numerous significant deals for private equity firms, providing valuable insights into their thought processes. Contact us today to learn how we can support your upcoming private equity projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Private equity investments are restricted to high-net-worth people (HNWIs).
  • Private equity can exist in several forms, including venture capital and sophisticated leveraged buyouts.
  • The two main metrics used to rank private equity firms are assets under management (AUM) and investor return success.

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