Header image

US Private Equity

Latest update: 11 January 2021

US private equity activity continued its strong recovering trend in Q4 through both buyouts and exits. Nearly one-third of PE buyout deals targeted the US South. Overall, 27% of the total deal buyout deals were invested in technology. Investors’ outbound appetites grew quickly, while inbound buyout activities dropped more than half by deal value compared to 2019.

Key Data Points

  • A total of USD 99.6bn was invested in 387 deals in 4Q20, representing a 17.3% increase in deal count compared to 3Q20 (330 deals, USD 74.8bn). Eyeing the whole year, despite a 5.6% decline by total deal count (1,341 deals vs 1,421 deals) this year, the total buyout deal value (USD 247.6bn) managed to maintain the same level as last year (USD 247.7bn).
  • Within all the disclosed buyout transactions, the majority of activity at 68.7% remains in the deals of USD 250m and under. The average buyout deal size (USD 506.3m) was 12.3% lower than the average deal size in 2019 (USD 577.3m).
  • Despite a 14.2% decrease by deal count compared to 2019 (1,131 deals, USD 276.3bn), exit activities reached the highest annual deal value on Mergermarket record, totaling USD 314bn with 970 deals announced.
  • One out of every five PE deals (278 deals) targeted California-based companies. Texas comes next, capturing nearly 10 percent of total deal flow (124 deals). Alabama and Maryland achieved 77.8% (16 deals) and 52.9% (26 deals) increase respectively by buyout deal count compared to their 2019 performances.




Key Data Points

  • Technology continues to dominate overall sector buyout activity in 2020, reaching 365 deals worth USD 82.8bn. The technology sector also took 43.2% share of the total exit deals with 419 deals worth USD 138.6bn. The USD 9.5bn acquisition of San Francisco-based RealPage, a software developer for the real estate industry, by Chicago-based Thoma Bravo ranked top by deal value.
  • Business services ranked second in both buyout and exit sides by deal count. A total of 216 buyout deals (USD 38.6bn) were announced within the sector, almost double the deal value last year, despite the deal count being 10% lower than last year (240 deals, USD 19.8bn).



Key Data Points

  • The pace of outbound buyouts accelerated this year with a total of USD 174.5bn invested overseas with 413 deals, a 61.3% jump compared to the total outbound deal value in 2019 (USD 108.1bn, 412 deals).
  • Inbound activity witnessed a slight decline by deal count in 2020 (135 deals, USD 35.4bn), while inbound investment deal value declined 52.2% compared to 2019 (141 deals, USD 74.1bn
Announced DateTargetSectorBidder SellerDeal Value USD (m)
21 Dec 2020RealPageTechnologyThoma Bravo
01-Nov-2020Astound BroadbandTelecommunicationsStonepeak Infrastrcuture PartnersTPG Capital, Patriot Media Consulting8,100
09-Dec-2020Ingram MicroBusiness ServicesPlatinum EquityHNA Technology7,200
12-Nov-2020Cano HealthPharma, Medical & BiotechJaws Acquisition CorporationInTandem Capital Partners3,643
13-Dec-2020PluralsightTechnologyA consortium of partners: Group Holding AG and Vista Equity Partners ManagementInsight Partners3,355

Top Exits 4Q20

Announced Date
Deal Value USD (m)
Astound Broadband
Stonepeak Infrastrcuture Partners
TPG Capital, Patriot Media Consulting
06-Oct-2020Clover HealthPharma, Medical & Biotech
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings CorpSequoia Capital; Western Technology Investment; First Round Capital; Spark Capital Partners; Casdin Capital; Nexus Venture Partners; GV; Floodgate Fund; Greenoaks Capital Partners; Athyrium Capital Management; AME Cloud Ventures; Palm Drive Capital; Wildcat Venture Partners; Refactor Capital
12-Nov-2020Cano Health
Pharma, Medical & Biotech
Jaws Acquisition Corporation
InTandem Capital Partners
04-Nov-2020InSite Wireless Group Telecommunications
American Tower Corporation
Cox Enterprises; Catalyst Investors; Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
A consortium of partners: Group Holding AG and Vista Equity Partners Management
Insight Partners

by Melody Ren in Chicago, with graphics by Mate Taczman

Join our community

Deals+ is a global network of M&A transaction professionals offering you access to exclusive events, networking and research. Join the community for free to enjoy the below benefits:

  • perm_contact_calendar Priority invitations to virtual and hybrid events
  • play_arrow Latest trend reports and market research
  • email Regular newsletter on the people shaping global M&A markets