Private equity fees nose dive

3i took top place in the first-quarter fee tables produced by Thomson Reuters in conjunction with Freeman & Co covering the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, with Goldman Sachs coming top as the recipient of private equity-related fees. The fees relate to debt, equity, M&A and syndicated loan products.

Fees paid by the top 10 private equity houses fell dramatically from US$946m in the first quarter of 2007 to US$127.8m in the first quarter of this year. Interestingly, however, the share of fees paid by the top 10 rose from 49.3% last year to 57.1% this year.

The top 10 private equity players this year differed widely from those in the top ten in 2007. CVC Capital Partners, Charterhouse, Permira, Morgan Stanley, Apax, Blackstone and PAI Partners did not feature in this year’s top 10 financial sponsors for the first quarter. Instead, Carlyle, Bain Capital, EQT Partners, Candover, Great Hill Partners, AIG and First Reserve all take the top slots.

The main areas of decline in fees paid to investment banks by private equity houses related, not surprisingly, to loan-arranging which fell from US$596.1m to a mere US$26.9m this year, and M&A advice, which fell from US$241.6m last year to US$100.6m. 3i has moved from sixth in the first quarter of last year to first in this year’s first quarter, which shunted KKR, last years winner, into second place.

Goldman Sachs took the top slot as the main EMEA fee recipient in this year’s first quarter, up from fourth place last year, while Deutsche Bank, which took last years top slot, does not appear in this year’s top 10.

Total fees received by the banks from the top 10 houses fell from just over US$1bn in the first quarter of 2007 to just US$116.9m this year. The vast majority of the top bank fees came from M&A advice, with a tiny proportion from loan arranging and nothing from debt or equity arranging, in stark contrast to last year.

The market share received from the top 10 private equity houses by the top 10 investment banks remained more or less the same at 52.2% this year compared with 52.3% last year.