EQT has agreed to acquire Baring Private Equity Asia for $7.5 billion as investment firms continue to put stock in Asia's private markets, a trend that is expected to accelerate.

With the deal, EQT will absorb Hong Kong-based Baring's $19.5 billion in assets under management, making the Swedish asset manager a top-three firm in terms of active ownership strategies globally, according to a press release.

The deal is one of the largest ever M&A deals in the alternatives space and shows that EQT is a massive player in private equity, on par with major US firms, according to Wylie Fernyhough, a senior PE analyst at PitchBook.

"Asia has been a key theme lately, with KKR and Blackstone scaling their efforts in the region," Fernyhough said. "The region is expected to grow and it's been interesting to watch some firms pursue the organic growth route while others have gone with M&A."

Baring Private Equity Asia is a private markets investment manager in Asia, with more than 236 employees managing investments across 10 regional offices. Baring closed its first mega-fund—a vehicle sized at $5 billion or more—in 2019. Its eighth private equity fund is currently open and has a reported target of $8.5 billion.

Ferrnyhough said he expects M&A in the region to heat up as the top players look to fill out their product suites across geographies.

Other PE firms have also made moves for private market stakes in Asia. In January, Dyal Capital Partners reportedly agreed to acquire a roughly 13% stake in Seoul-based MBK Partners.

"[EQT] clearly has global ambitions and being a public company undoubtedly helped fuel the growth and allowed this transaction to happen," Fernyhough said.

EQT went public in 2019, and has seen its stock climb nearly 290% since its debut. The firm's stock price was up close to 12% following news of the Baring Private Equity Asia deal.

Here's a look at some of the largest M&A deals of PE firms by PE investors.
 
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