Fierce competition in PEI Awards 2014

Firms are neck and neck in many of the categories – just one vote could be all it takes

Voting for the annual PEI awards has been open for three weeks now, and some interesting races are beginning to shape up across all three of PEI’s designated regions.

The fight to be crowned Large-Cap Firm of the Year is proving tough across the board. In Asia the field is currently led by The Carlyle Group, barely a nose ahead of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Baring Private Equity Asia. In the Americas region Warburg Pincus is just a whisker ahead of Bain Capital, with the category’s other two contenders not far behind.

2014 was a good year for Warburg Pincus all round by industry reckoning, with the US giant running a close second to CVC Capital Partners in the race for Large-Cap Firm of the Year in Europe and inching ahead in Europe’s Exit of the Year category for its partial exit of Poundland through an IPO valuing the chain at £750m.

Warburg is also leading the charge in the closely-fought battle for Firm of the Year in China. However, the race is far from over, and Hony Capital, which is currently leading the Deal of the Year in Europe category with its $1.5 billion takeover of Pizza Express, is snapping at Warburg’s heels.

Gregory Hara’s small-cap firm J-Star has a good chance of walking off with an award, with the firm currently extending its lead in both the Firm of the Year in Japan category and the Exit of the Year in Asia category for its impressive 5.1x return on the sale of senior care provider HCM Holdings.

There’s still no clear front-runner for Deal of the Year or Exit of the Year in the Americas region, with the eye-watering $4 billion take private of TIBCO currently leading the pack in the former category and KPS Capital Partners’ 5x return on the sale of iron castings provider Waupaca Foundry to Hitachi Metals ahead in the latter.

In the EMEA region, there’s barely a hair’s breadth between veteran player Deutsche Beteiligungs and Paragon Partners in the Firm of the Year in Germany category, while the Firm of the year in the MENA region and Distressed Investment Firm of the Year are also too close to call.

Industry insiders seem in closer agreement when it comes to LP of the Year, with clear leaders pulling ahead in all three regions. However, with voting still open, at this point no race is a done deal.

Haven’t had your say yet? Get voting now for the firms you think have been the star performers of 2014