U.S. buyouts rocketed 60 pct in 2018 to $443.5 bln

It’s not your imagination: Private equity deals surged in 2018.

This year through Dec. 27, 9,770 global announced buyouts were valued at $804.1 billion, a 24 percent jump from 2017, Refinitiv said.

U.S. PE deals showed the biggest gains, with the value rocketing 60 percent. Some 3,753 deals were valued at $443.5 billion, Refinitiv said.

Of the nearly 10,000 global PE transactions, the U.S. accounted for nearly 40 percent.

European PE M&A rose 13 percent with 3,206 deals valued at $177.1 billion. German buyouts posted a 90 percent increase in deal value, with 329 deals representing $22.4 billion. In Italy, 264 announced PE transactions represented $26 billion, more than triple the 2017 deal value, Refinitiv said.

On the downside, the U.K., which is scheduled to leave the European Union in May, reported PE-deal value fell 33 percent, with 757 transactions totaling $27.7 billion.

Global announced mergers also posted gains. Worldwide M&A rose 19 percent, with 46,714 deals totaling nearly $4 trillion, Refinitiv said.

U.S. mergers gained 32 percent, with 12,165 deals totaling $1.7 trillion. While U.K. PE deals dropped, general mergers rose 31 percent, with 3,120 transactions valued at $230.7 billion.

Here’s the top five global announced PE deals, according to Refinitiv:

5. KKR’s $9.9 billion take-private of physician-services provider Envision Healthcare in October. The Envision process drew strategic buyers such as UnitedHealth Group as well as PE groups comprised of Hellman & Friedman, Onex Corp and Clayton Dubilier & Rice and a group led by Carlyle, Bloomberg reported.

4. Carlyle’s $12.5 billion buy of AkzoNobel’s specialty chemicals unit. GIC, the Singapore investment firm, is also an investor.

3. Johnson Controls International’s sale of its power solutions business, which makes car batteries, to Brookfield Business Partners for $13.2 billion. The deal, announced in November, includes Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec as an investor.

2. Ant Financial Services Group produced the world’s largest-ever single fundraising when it collected $14 billion in June, Reuters said. Investors of the Series C round include GIC, Temasek, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Warburg Pincus, Silver Lake and General Atlantic.

1. The top PE deal in 2018 was Thomson Reuters’ sale of a majority stake in its financial and risk business to Blackstone Group. The unit, now called Refinitiv, provides data and news mainly to financial customers. The deal was valued at nearly $20 billion.

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