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US PE Breakdown

2021 Annual

US PE Breakdown

January 11, 2022

US PE Breakdown
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US PE rewrote the record books in 2021 as dealmaking topped $1 trillion

US PE deal value totaled $1.2 trillion in 2021, as the blistering pace of activity helped drive a boom across all deal sizes, sectors, and types. The potential for a wild ride was evident early, and by midyear, the question had become not if records would be broken, but how quickly—and by how much.

Our 2021 Annual US PE Breakdown, sponsored by Bridge Bank, Golub Capital, and Baker Tilly, has the final figures from an astounding year. The report is twice the size of the previous annual edition and features deep dives into healthcare, technology, sports, GP stakes, and more.

Key takeaways

  • The $1.2 trillion in deal value is 64% higher than the previous record from 2019. At over 8,600, deal count topped 2019’s record by 50%.
  • A red-hot exit environment culminated in over 1,700 exits totaling more than $850 billion, as exit activity benefited from elevated transaction multiples and lofty public market multiples.
  • 2021 was perhaps the best year yet to raise a fund, and 2022 may be even better. LPs continue to lift their private market allocations, a shift reinforced by the expectation of lower public equity returns beginning in 2022.
  • US firms have hastened to make ESG commitments amid a heightened interest in sustainable investing, but a scarcity of expertise and lack of consensus on reporting standards complicate adoption of the strategy.

This report was sponsored by Bridge Bank, Golub Capital, and Baker Tilly. Interested in sponsoring future editions of this report? Visit our media partnerships page to learn more.

Table of contents
Executive summary 3
Deals 4
Introduction 4
Healthcare 8
Software 11
Sports, media, and entertainment 13
GP stakes 15
Mega-deals and take-privates 17
Growth equity 18
ESG and impact 19
Q&A: Baker Tilly 24
Deals by size and sector 26
Spotlight: Behavioral health 28
Exits 31
Introduction 31
Healthcare 35
Software 37
Public listings 38
Continuation funds and partial exits 40
Fundraising and performance 43
Introduction 43
M&A 46
Strategy expansion 48
Mega-funds 49
First-time funds and diverse managers 50
Middle-market funds 51
Growth equity 52
Sector-focused funds 54
Performance 55