Preqin: 2017 PE Deals Flat With Last Year, Total Value Rises

Jan 4 2018 | 7:42pm ET

In 2017, private equity-backed buyout deals remained on par with 2016’s deal activity, according to preliminary data from Preqin, with 4,191 deals worth a total of $347 billion.

Preqin expects these tallies to rise by approximately 5% as more information becomes available, the company said in a statement Thursday, putting the year broadly level with the 4,271 deals completed in 2016 for a combined $340 billion. 

While deals of less than $100 million accounted for the largest proportion of the number of deals, deals of $1 billion or more accounted for almost 70% of all deal value in 2017, the company noted, with North America attracting the most capital through the year - 2,284 deals announced for a total of $175 billion. Asia hit a record for private equity-backed deal activity in 2017, due largely to two record-setting deals in the region. 

Other key 2017 private equity-backed buyout deal and exit facts: 

  • Small deals of less than $100 million accounted for 51% of the number of deals announced in 2017, while making up just 3% of total deal value. By contrast, deals of $1 billion or more accounted for 11% of number of deals and 69% of deal value. 

  • Deals made in industrials made up the largest proportion of the number of deals (22%), while investments in information technology accounted for the largest proportion of deal value (19%). 

  • Additionally, although public-to-private deals accounted for just 2% of deals made in 2017, they made up over a quarter (29%) of total deal value. 

  • Buyout-backed exits fell compared to 2016, with 1,674 exits announced worth a combined $250 billion. This is the third consecutive year in which buyout-backed exit values have fallen. 

“Despite a strong Q3, 2017 ultimately has not broken 2015’s record for total private equity-backed deal value,” said Christopher Elvin, Preqin’s head of private equity products. “However, the year does highlight the sustained deal-making activity the market has seen, with more than 4,000 deals announced for the fourth consecutive year.”

“Despite concerns over the effect that deal pricing and competition were having on the market, it seems that fund managers are still able to deploy capital into a large number of deal opportunities,” he added.

Founded in 2003, Preqin is a leading source of information for the alternative assets industry, providing data and analysis via online databases, publications and bespoke data requests. More than 47,000 professionals in 90 nations use the company’s products.

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