U.S. private equity and venture capital entry volume and value hit five-year first-half highs in 2021, recording 3,585 deals with an aggregate value of $201.29 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
Year over year, entry deal volume during the period climbed 31.6%, with gross transaction value rising 181.5%, underscoring the resilience of private equity dealmaking despite the unpredictable direction of the economy as it was upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
The results reflect the deal momentum that began in the first quarter. However, second-quarter transaction volume and value were down roughly 10% and 5% compared to the previous quarter.
In the first half of 2021, most private equity deals in the U.S. were concentrated in the coastal state regions.
Business and travel restrictions resulting from the pandemic pushed private equity firms to adopt online work to the furthest extent possible, which produced some benefits.
Some of the benefits include the ability to break up due diligence sessions and reach more people due to flexible schedules and cost and time savings by avoiding travel to in-person meetings, which additionally addressed some environmental, social and governance concerns.
As the world enters post-pandemic times, private equity is expected to incorporate much of the online work to supplement face-to-face meetings in order to bring more efficiency to due diligence and fundraising efforts.
In terms of fundraising, an aggregate of 354 U.S.-based funds closed in the second quarter, slightly higher compared to the preceding period with 338 vehicles. The second quarter brought in $170.45 billion in capital commitments, up from the $137.12 billion capital commitments raised from the last quarter. Total dry powder stands at $984.6 billion.
Major funds in market include The Carlyle Group Inc. targeting $22.00 billion for the Carlyle Partners VIII fund, making it the largest U.S.-based vehicle currently raising capital. It is followed by Insight Venture Management LLC' Insight Partners XII LP, a $12.00 billion growth platform. The third-biggest fund in the market is Neuberger Berman Group LLC's Dyal Capital Partners V, which has an initial $9.00 billion target.
In terms of funds closed during the second quarter, Hellman & Friedman LLC's Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners X LP was the largest with about $24.40 billion in capital commitments. KKR & Co. Inc. came in second and third places with the KKR North America Fund XIII SCSp, which raised approximately $18.50 billion, and the KKR Asian Fund IV SCSp, which obtained $15.00 billion in capital commitments.
In 2021, PE firms will have to prove they can deliver. Out of 111 global limited partners, 59% said they were more likely to refuse a re-up over the next year or two due to weak performance from individual general partners, according to Coller Capital Ltd.'s Summer 2021 Private Equity Barometer. Assuming that re-ups are highly subject to performance, LP capital allocations may target more new and emerging managers with specialized expertise.