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US PE Middle Market Report

2021 Annual

US PE Middle Market Report

March 14, 2022

US PE Middle Market Report
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US PE middle market tops $600B in 2021, but inflation looms

The US PE middle market recorded its busiest year ever in 2021, closing 4,121 deals worth an aggregate $602.6 billion—around 50% above the previous annual records for both figures, set in 2019.

Ample dry powder and easy debt funding shaped the dealmaking environment, but the future remains uncertain amid current challenges, according to our 2021 Annual US PE Middle Market Report, sponsored by Antares, Stout, Baker Tilly and Datasite. 

Key takeaways
 
  • Inflation is top of mind for middle-market firms, as Consumer Price Index gains have surpassed 7% in 2022 and financial fallout continues from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
 
  • Middle-market fundraising showed signs of a slower recovery compared with broader PE fundraising landscape, with capital raised and fund count both falling just shy of 2020’s totals.
 
  • Exit count spiked above 1,000 for the first time on record, as rising multiples pushed many portfolio companies to price targets well ahead of schedule.

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Table of contents
Introduction 4
Overview 5
Q&A: Antares 12
Deals by size and sector 14
Q&A: Stout 16
Exits 18
Q&A: Baker Tilly 22
Fundraising & performance 24
Q&A: Datasite 30