S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of global private equity news stories and more published throughout the week.
The global private equity industry recorded dry powder of $1.78 trillion in February, near the all-time high of $1.81 trillion set in January, according to Preqin estimates, following a year characterized by a surge of deal-making.
The top 25 firms collectively hold about $460.12 billion, or one-quarter of the total. Those managers have benefited from a capital flight to large, well-established firms during the pandemic.
Alternatives giant Blackstone Inc. has the most money to spend, with about $45.41 billion of dry powder in its private equity strategies, followed by publicly listed peer KKR & Co. Inc., with $39.26 billion awaiting deployment.
European-headquartered buyout houses Ardian and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. are next with $26.47 billion and $25.92 billion in dry powder, respectively.
See the full list of the top 25 firms globally by dry powder here.
CHART OF THE WEEK: VCs funnel into fintech
⮞ Venture capital funding of U.S. financial technology companies soared in 2021, both in transaction value and volume. This was not simply due to favorable year-over-year comparisons linked to the pandemic outbreak. A look at just the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021 echoes the full-year findings: The aggregate amount raised increased by more than 95% and the volume of transactions jumped over 40%.
⮞ Investment and capital markets technology companies were the biggest beneficiaries in 2021, with about $9 billion flowing into the space, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates.
⮞ The investment and capital markets technology category also dominated based on the number of funding rounds, with 33% more than the next-highest category. The approximately 250 rounds that investment and technology companies closed accounted for 26% of the total rounds from all U.S. fintech companies in 2021.
FUNDRAISING AND DEALS
* Blackstone is holding discussions over the possible merger of Building Materials Europe BV with CVC Capital-backed Stark Group A/S, Bloomberg Markets reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The private equity giant, which is also weighing a potential listing of Building Materials, is looking to value the business at about €6 billion in any deal.
* The buyout bid made by an investor consortium led by Advent International Corp. and Centerbridge Partners LP for Aareal Bank AG failed to reach the minimum acceptance threshold from the German bank's shareholders by the deadline and abandoned the offer.
* Funds within Apollo Global Management Inc.'s Apollo Hybrid Value Fund LP will provide $125 million to Hero FinCorp Ltd. as part of the India-based nonbanking financial company's $267 million fundraise. The investment is slated to close in the second quarter.
* EQT AB (publ) is working with Rothschild to advise on the possible sale of a 70% interest in French water management firm Saur SAS, which could value at about €3 billion in a deal, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The private equity investor and Verdane's Verdane Capital IX AB fund also agreed to divest U.K.-headquartered market research software and services company Forsta (Europe) Ltd. to Press Ganey Associates Inc. in a transaction set to close in the first half of 2022.
ELSEWHERE IN THE INDUSTRY
* Cerberus Capital Management LP will sell 37% of its remaining stake in German bank Deutsche Bank AG at an expected price of €14.15 per share, Bloomberg reported. Cerberus is also the front-runner in the race to buy a majority stake in Yes Bank Ltd.'s planned asset reconstruction company, Mint reported, citing two people directly aware of the development.
* Linzor Capital Partners LP and minority investors Teras Capital Spain and CyC exited telecommunications company Mundo to DigitalBridge Group Inc.
* OceanSound Partners LP collected $780 million for its first investment vehicle, Oceansound Partners Fund LP.
* Falfurrias Capital Partners LP injected fresh capital into bank and credit union consultancy Engage fi, formerly known as CU Engage LLC, through Fund V.
FOCUS ON: AIR FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS
* ATL Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. will sell full-service transportation and logistics provider Pilot Freight Services Inc. to A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S in an approximately $1.7 billion all-cash deal, subject to receipt of regulatory approval by the second quarter.
* Funds managed by Blackstone Growth Advisors LLC will lead a $300 million investment in Indian third-party logistics company Busybees Logistics Solutions Pvt Ltd., doing business as Xpressbees, with participation from TPG Capital LP, ChrysCapital and current backers Norwest Venture Partners and Investcorp Holdings BSC.
* Andreessen Horowitz LLC and MSD Partners LP led a $935 million series E financing round for technology-enabled freight operator Flexport Inc., which now has a valuation of $8 billion. Shopify Inc. and previous investors DST Global, Founders Fund Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.'s SoftBank Vision Fund LP also joined the round.