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10 Biggest Private Equity Firms

10 Biggest Private Equity Firms
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated September 8, 2023
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If you run an established business and are looking for an injection of cash, as well as some professional expertise that can help you get through a rough patch, consider bringing on a private equity investor. In this article, we’ll look at some of the largest private equity firms in the world to start your search.

What Are Private Equity Firms?

A private equity firm is one that invests in mature businesses that may need a bit of work to get to profitability. Once the firm provides the capital, it retains a majority share in the company (sometimes a full 100%). The private equity firm makes decisions that can take a floundering business and bring it back to full capacity. At that point, the company is sold or goes public, and the firm takes its investment and profit.Let’s look at some of the biggest private equity firms worth reaching out to.Recommended: How to Find Investors

10 Top Private Equity Firms

No matter what type of investment your business is seeking (venture capital and private equity being popular choices), you’ll want to carefully research the firm you choose.Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, but the largest private equity firms have invested the most in businesses and clearly have a track record of success.Here are the top 10 private equity firms in the world, based on assets under management.

1. KKR & Co. Inc.

As one of the large private equity firms, KKR provides traditional management buyouts and build-ups, as well as minority investments and public toe hold investments.

Value of Assets

KKR’s assets under management are $510 billion as of March 2023.

Typical Investments

KKR invests in businesses in a wide range of industries, such as:
  • 1 800 CONTACTS
  • Cloudera
  • Wella Company

2. The Carlyle Group Inc.

The Carlyle Group is an international private equity firm with a presence on five continents. In addition to private equity, the firm offers global credit and global investment solutions.

Value of Assets

The Carlyle Group has assets under management of $163 billion and invests in companies in aerospace, consumer, financial services, industrial, healthcare, and more.

Typical Investments

Here are some examples of The Carlyle Group’s investments:
  • Abacus Pharmaceuticals
  • McDonald's China (Grand Foods Holdings Limited)
  • Global Jet Capital

3. The Blackstone Group Inc.

The Blackstone Group invests in private equity, real estate, credit, hedge funds, infrastructure, life sciences, insurance, and growth equity. 

Value of Assets

The private equity firm currently has $1 trillion in assets under management, currently making it the largest private equity firm in the world.

Typical Investments

Here are a few of the companies that The Blackstone Group has invested in:
  • Ancestry
  • Bumble

4. CVC Capital Partners

As one of the largest private equity firms, CVC Capital Partners has 25 offices around the world. The firm focuses on private equity, secondaries, and credit. 

Value of Assets

CVC’s assets under management total €140 billion, or $151 billion in U.S. dollars.

Typical Investments

With one of the largest private equity funds, CVC Capital Partners works with brands like:
  • Breitling
  • Six Nations Rugby
  • A Bathing Ape
Recommended: Guide to Early Stage Investing

5. TPG Capital

TPG Capital provides large-scale, control-oriented private equity investing, growth equity and middle market private equity investing, private equity investing focused on societal and financial outcomes, real estate investing, and market solutions.

Value of Assets

TPG has $139 billion in assets under management, with more than 300 active portfolio companies based in more than 30 countries.

Typical Investments

TPG invests in companies like:
  • Airbnb
  • Calm 
  • DirecTV 

6. Thoma Bravo

Based in Miami, Florida, Thoma Bravo has been investing in software and technology companies for over 40 years, providing both capital and strategic support.

Value of Assets

Thoma Bravo manages over $131 billion in assets and has acquired or invested in more than 450 software and technology companies.

Typical Investments

Thoma Bravo invests in technology and software companies like:
  • Deltek
  • J.D. Power
  • McAfee

7. Vista Equity Partners

Vista Equity Partners’ focus is on helping enterprise software companies thrive. To date, the firm has invested in more than 80 companies with its private equity division. The firm also offers permanent capital, credit, and public equity.

Value of Assets

Vista Equity Partners has $100 billion in assets under management.

Typical Investments

Here are just a few of the companies Vista Equity Partners has invested in:
  • Active Network
  • Infoblox
  • Marketo

8. Warburg Pincus LLC

Warbug Pincus has 14 offices in 10 countries, and more than 55 years’ experience investing private equity in companies.

Value of Assets

Its assets under management is $83 billion.

Typical Investments

Here’s a sampling of the types of companies Warburg Pincus invests in:
  • BetterCloud
  • Clearwater Analytics
  • Fetch

9. EQT

EQT is a private equity firm with 48 active funds in both private capital and real assets. The company invests worldwide.

Value of Assets

EQT’s assets under management is €119 billion, or about $128 billion U.S. dollars.

Typical Investments

Here are a few of the companies EQT has invested in:
  • Recipharm
  • Zooplus
  • BBS Automation

10. Neuberger Berman Group LLC

Founded in 1939, Neuberger Berman Group provides a variety of investment solutions in both the public and private market, including private equity, fixed income, private credit, real estate, and multi-asset strategies.

Value of Assets

Neuberger Berman Group manages $443 billion in assets.

Typical Investments

Here are some of the companies that Neuberger Berman Group has invested in:
  • Marquee Brands
  • Telexius
  • MHS Global
Recommended: Private Equity vs Public Equity Explored

How Likely Are You to Get Funding From One of These Firms?

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to private equity firms. Each has its own criteria for what it looks for in an investment. If you’re drawn to any of the firms, start by exploring the industries they invest in to see which lines up with the industry you’re in.You can also look at the amounts the firm has invested to see how that lines up with the kind of capital you’re looking for.Once you’re ready to pitch a private equity firm, have all your information lined up and ready to go. The more details you can provide about your company and your financing needs, the more likely it is that you will get it.If you don’t find a private equity firm to work with, there are a variety of business loans that can also help you get the capital you need to grow your business. When applying for a business loan, find lenders that will work with you, whatever your credit score and financial situation.

The Takeaway

This list of the largest private equity firms may be a good place to start if you’re looking for not only an injection of cash but also expertise to help you move your company forward. Other ways to find investors include reaching out to family and friends, using your business network, or looking into private investors.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Blackstone the biggest private equity firm in the world?
Photo credit: iStock/spawns

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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