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Carlyle again tops list of world’s largest firms

According to the PEI 50, a proprietary ranking of private equity firms unveiled today, the 50 largest private equity firms in the world have together raised $810 billion over the last five years. At the top of the list are Carlyle, Goldman Sachs, TPG, KKR and CVC. The list is distinct from a ranking of the largest private equity real estate firms that will be unveiled on this site next week.

The Carlyle Group is the largest private equity firm in the world, according to a proprietary ranking of private equity firms unveiled today by PERE's sister magazine Private Equity International.

It is the second year in a row that Carlyle has topped the ranking, called the PEI 50. Carlyle-affiliated private equity funds have drawn commitments of $52 billion (€33 billion) since 1 January 2003, outpacing the private equity fundraising of number two on the list, Goldman Sachs’ Principal Investment Area, by nearly $3 billion over the same time period.

Rounding out the PEI 50’s top five are TPG, with $48.75 billion raised, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts with $39.67 billion raised and CVC Capital Partners at $36.84 billion.

The PEI 50 is distinct from the PERE 30, a ranking of private equity real estate firms produced by PERE magazine that will be revealed in the May issue of the magazine as well as on this web site next week.

The PEI 50 ranks private equity firms based on the amount of private equity direct-investment capital raised over a roughly five-year time period. The methodology includes capital raised or formed for buyouts, venture capital, growth equity, distressed-for-control and mezzanine debt strategies. It excludes funds of funds, hedge funds, debt funds, infrastructure and real estate funds.

The complete list of 50 firms can be found here.

Together, the largest 50 private equity firms in the world have raised $810 billion over the defined five-year period, a 47 percent increase over the $551 billion raised by the 50 largest firms during the five-year window ending a year ago.

Commenting on the 2008 update of the PEI 50, David Snow, executive editor and director of PEI Media, said: “This year’s rankings show an incredible surge in fundraising over the past year, with the largest firms in the world gaining the lion’s share of it. The rankings were also significantly influenced by the weakened dollar, as well as by investor interest in energy-sector and turnaround strategies.”

Carlyle was the top firm when the PEI 50 debuted last year, having raised $32.5 billion over five years. It was followed by KKR, Goldman Sachs, The Blackstone Group and TPG.

This year, the 50th firm, New York-based Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, raised $5.88 billion over the specified time period.