Private equity is money invested in firms which have not made their initial public offering or IPO. Private equity consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies. The capital that is raised from investors, whether retail or institutional, can be used in a number of ways. It is often used to invest in or to fund new technologies, expand working capital within an owned company, to make acquisitions or to strengthen a balance sheet. It is not unusual for large private equity transactions to take place. In 2016, the Audax Group was the largest private equity investor worldwide with 84 deals.
Investment in consumer goods and services topped the list for the highest private equity investments in Europe in 2016, amounting to over 14 billion euros. Fundraising by private equity companies in the United States peaked pre-financial crisis in 2007, amounting to 263.86 billion U.S. dollars. By 2010, fundraising capabilities had fallen to 65.76 billion U.S. dollars owing to severely deflated investor confidence. However, fundraising reached 144.52 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.
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