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Private equity worldwide - statistics & facts

Private equity is money invested in firms which are not publicly listed, or buyouts of public companies. Global dry powder of private equity firms has been climbing since 2014 and reached record high levels in 2020. Dry powder is a term commonly used in the private equity world to refer to committed, but unallocated capital. A high level of this capital means that private equity firms have unspent cash reserves. The Blackstone Group is the largest private equity firm worldwide in terms of funds raised.

Why does North America attract the most private equity funding globally?

North America is the clear favorite for private equity firms globally in terms of the volume of private equity funds focused on the region. This is due to several factors. One being that the United States is home to eight of the largest 10 private equity firms worldwide. Another is the strong concentration of privately owned startups with high market valuations. Highly valued companies typically demonstrate high growth potential, which is a key factor that private equity firms look at when deciding to make an investment. North America is also the region with the most unicorn exits globally, which means that these companies either successfully went public or were acquired.

What is the outlook for private equity?

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty in 2020 and 2021, but investors in some regions felt more concerned about its impact that their counterparts elsewhere. For instance, an early 2021 survey suggest that the biggest challenge in European private equity was the economic impact COVID-19 could have on portfolios and deal flow. Meanwhile, private equity investor concerns in Asia-Pacific were less about the impact of the pandemic but more on high valuation expectations and increased competition. However, most institutional investors globally expect private equity to either exceed or meet benchmark in 2021.


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