Deal of the Year Awards Intro 2019

Healthcare-related transactions played a big role in our deal awards this year. Two of our winners, for middle-market and international deals of the year, involved companies that make vitamins and all-natural cough medicine.

It’s perhaps not surprising that healthcare played such a big role as it has become a major sector for private equity investing. Arguably, both our winners could be considered retail as well as healthcare, but the point remains: PE loves healthcare.

Middle-Market Deal of the Year went to L Catterton for its sale of Zarbee’s Natural’s. Permira took the international deal award for its sale of Atrium Innovations.

Our overall Deal of the Year was a software company, Marketo, sold by Vista Equity. Software is yet another sector of growing importance to PE, as more managers raise funds targeting the segment.

Vista, of course, has been doing this for a long time and this particular deal is evidence of the firm’s brilliance in business enterprise automation: The sale of Marketo brought in a cool $2.5 billion in net cash for Vista, the biggest profit realized by a portfolio company in Vista’s history. And Vista achieved this after an investment hold of only around two years.

Vista has had some strong deal award contenders in the past, so it’s good to see the firm finally break through with a big win.

We also introduced a new category: Secondaries Deal of the Year. We’ve seen so many innovative secondary-market transactions, which find ways to deliver liquidity to LPs in older funds while enabling GPs to hang on to investments longer.

Our winner this year was NEA, which spun out 31 investments across four older funds into a new firm called NewView Capital. Managed by ex-NEA General Partner Ravi Viswanathan, the spinout is an example of the creative flame burning in secondaries these days, and not just in buyouts but on the venture side as well.

While perhaps not as straightforward as the M&A sales that our deal awards have traditionally covered, secondaries needed its own category to recognize the innovation spurring that market these days.

As always, coming up with a list of winners was no easy task. We received a ton of great nominees, each with its own strong characteristics.

Our winners just had that little extra spark that helped push them over the line. Thanks everyone for participating and be sure to gear up for next year’s awards!