Key terms and methodology

What is in the Database?

Buyouts’ Database holds live information on active investors in the private equity asset class (limited partners), managers of private equity funds (general partners) and service providers to both LPs and GPs (investment consultants and placement agents), alongside data on the funds themselves through their fundraising life-cycle. 

What do we mean by private equity?

For the purposes of the Database, private equity is defined as capital raised through limited partnership structures, co-investment funds, separate accounts and private mandates for dedicated programmes of investing into non-listed businesses. This includes equity capital for diversified private equity, buyouts, growth equity, venture capital, turnaround or control-oriented distressed equity investment capital, secondaries and private equity funds of funds and co-investment funds.

Our definition of private equity does not include:

  • Real estate (unless a fund invests primarily in real estate companies)
  • Infrastructure (unless a fund invests primarily in upstream energy companies)
  • Hedge funds

How do we define a limited partner?

A limited partner (LP) is an institutional investor that commits capital to private funds through limited partnerships. LPs can include corporates, family offices, foundations and endowments, insurance companies, investment firms, pension funds, banks, sovereign wealth funds, fund of fund managers and other select institutional investors. As our primary goal is to track how institutional capital is being invested, our listing of limited partners in the Database does not extend to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) – many of whom invest via family offices, which we do include – or crowd-funding platforms. For funds that receive commitments from HNWIs and institutional investors, we would add the fund and the institutional investors to the Database but not the HNWIs.

We track investors that commit capital to closed-ended funds managed by general partners. We do not track any investor capital dedicated to a strategy of investing directly into private businesses. Qualified investors must have limited liquidity options and the fund manager must have full discretion over investments made into private operating companies.

We hold the following information about limited partners on our Database: assets under management, current and target allocation to alternative asset classes, contact details, current allocation preferences by geography, strategy and sector, appetite for future fund investments, and current and historic fund commitments.

How do we define a general partner?

A general partner (GP) is a fund manager that raises capital from institutional investors through closed-ended fund structures and/or non-fund vehicles with fund-like economics (co-investments, separate accounts, private mandates). Capital raised through such vehicles is invested by the fund manager directly into private companies or invested into third-party private equity funds through a fund of funds platform.

The fund manager must have full discretion over the investments it makes into private operating companies.

The general partner information that we hold on our database includes: assets under management, contact details, current investment preferences and fund-level details, such as amount targeted, amount raised, key dates, LPs in the fund, service providers used.

What strategies do we cover?

Buyout / corporate private equity – the GP acquires a controlling interest in an established private company, either alone or in partnership with other private equity firms. These funds have a lower volatility of returns than growth equity investments.

Growth equity* – the GP provides expansion capital for companies seeking to accelerate their growth, restructure their operations or expand into new markets, typically involving minority investments into relatively mature companies. Growth equity investments sit between buyout funds and venture capital funds on the risk-return spectrum and tend to invest in a broader range of sectors than the latter.

Venture capital* – the GP acquires stakes in early stage or start-up firms with high growth potential. This type of equity financing is high-risk and high-return as investments are made into companies that do not have a proven business model, requiring the GP to take a more active role in the company. The Database does not cover venture capital trusts or venture capital funds backed by retail investors.

Distressed equity / turnaround – the GP purchases equity in companies with financial or operational challenges. Investments are made with the aim of restoring a company’s financial growth and are usually made before an expected bankruptcy or during the bankruptcy process. Investments can also be made into spin-off companies with mandates that do not align with the parent company.

Funds of funds** – the GP invests into third-party private equity funds, rather than investing directly into businesses.

Secondaries – the GP either acquires a limited partnership interest from an investor (secondaries fund) or buys interests in portfolio companies for investors (direct secondaries fund).

Co-investment** – the GP raises additional capital from specific investors, alongside a fund, to make further deals.

*Note that growth equity and venture capital funds are currently listed on the Database as Venture Capital / Growth Equity.

**Note that funds of funds and co-investment funds are currently listed on the Database as Fund of Funds / Co-Investment.

What sectors do we look at?

Financial services – businesses providing economic services including investment, lending and money management. These include but are not limited to: commercial banks, investment banks, financial advisors, and insurance companies.

Biotech / life science – life sciences businesses operating in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies and other related services.

Consumer goods – businesses providing products that are bought by customers for their own use, such as food and clothing.

Clean tech / renewable – businesses related to clean energy and renewable energy exploration and production, including wind, solar, tidal and geothermal power.

Energy / oil & gas – businesses that explore and produce upstream assets. Private equity energy differs from energy infrastructure, which focuses on midstream and downstream assets. This sector does not include renewable energies.

Healthcare – businesses providing medical services, such as doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies and health insurance companies.

Industrials – businesses operating in the planning, implementing and control of the efficient production of goods and services.

Leisure – businesses focused on recreation, including entertainment, sports, travel and tourism, hotels, restaurants and bars.

Manufacturing – businesses that use raw materials, components or parts to develop a finished product.

Retail – businesses that sell a product or service directly to consumers.

Business services – companies supporting businesses that do not produce tangible commodities.

TMT – technology, media and telecommunications businesses.

Transport – businesses operating in the manufacture of aerospace, automotive and shipping assets.

Natural resources – businesses that process and distribute materials and resources found in nature, such as energy sources, minerals and fresh water.

Agribusiness – businesses operating in farming and farming-related industries, including production, storage and the manufacture and distribution of agricultural goods. This does not include farmland, timber or forestry.