U.S. private equity firms raised a record amount of money last year, fueled by investors’ appetite for tech. Don’t expect a repeat this year, Pitchbook says.
More than $300 billion was raised in 2019 across some 5,100 deals, according to Pitchbook’s 2019 Annual U.S. PE Breakdown report. The deals’ total value was more than two-thirds of a trillion dollars, slightly less than the $730.3 billion registered in 2018.
“We believe fundraising in 2020 will likely experience a moderate dip,” Pitchbook said, in part because so many large funds closed last year. Even so, this year likely will reach the $200 billion mark, according to the report.
Tech startups and their spread both into traditional industries like banking as well as undeveloped regions of the world like Africa is fueling fundraising and deals. Almost one out of every five deals through the third quarter last year was tech-related, according to Pitchbook.
While fundraising hit a record high, the number of PE-backed IPOs fell by 50% last year to 23, Pitchbook said. Their total value of $33 billion was 30% less than a year.
Investors were turned off by the disappointing stock market debuts of ride-sharing rivals Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. in the first half, setting a somber tone for the year. We Co., parent of office-sharing WeWork, ended up dropping plans to sell shares after concerns were raised about the company’s profitability.
The U.S. government’s shutdown for the month of January 2019 also hurt the pace.
Pitchbook is predicting that the pace of PE-backed IPOs will pick up this year, in part because
there’s a backlog of companies waiting to list. Topgolf International Inc., a driving range operator backed by Providence Equity Partners, may line up an IPO this year that could value the company at $4 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
McAfee, a cybersecurity firm backed by TPG Capital and Intel, has been working on a possible IPO. J.Crew Group Inc., owned by Leonard Green & Partners and TPG, may spin off its Madewell unit.Tech fueled investor hunger for African startups last year, with venture capitalists spending a record $1.3 billion in the continent last year, WeeTracker’s annual funding report showed. Nineteen startups raised more than $10 million last year, almost double the 10 that achieved the same in 2018.