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Blackstone Takes Top Spot Among Busiest Private-Equity Firms

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Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman
Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and chief executive officer of Blackstone Group LP, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview prior to an event in Durham, North Carolin. Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP, the world’s biggest private-equity firm by assets, also is this year’s busiest buyout dealmaker.

Blackstone, based in New York, tops the list of most active private-equity firms, with transactions valued at $20.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm, whose chairman is Stephen Schwarzman, announced $15.9 billion of acquisitions through yesterday, including the purchase of Centro Properties Group’s U.S. shopping malls for $9.4 billion in March.

Second on the list, at $14.2 billion in transactions, is Avista Capital Partners LLC, the New York-based firm made up of the former DLJ Merchant Banking unit. Rounding out the top five are Nordic Capital AB of Stockholm, Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich and EQT Partners AB, also of Stockholm. Nordic Capital was the biggest seller in private-equity deals at $14.1 billion.

Private-equity transactions increased 51 percent to $287 billion this year over the same period a year earlier, Bloomberg data show. Economic uncertainty and volatile equity and debt markets have stunted recent dealmaking. Announced transactions in September dropped to $8.2 billion from $29 billion in August.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. of New York is the highest-ranked mergers-and-acquisitions adviser to private-equity firms, handling 51 deals valued at $66.8 billion this year, Bloomberg data show. New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is No. 2, with 46 deals totaling $64.6 billion.

M&A advisers and private-equity executives will gather today to discuss the outlook for dealmaking at the Bloomberg Dealmakers Summit in New York.

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Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers tops the rankings of busiest venture capital firms, according to Bloomberg’s data. The Menlo Park, California-based firm, whose holdings include daily deal site Groupon Inc., invested a combined $2.54 billion in 46 companies. Second is Digital Sky Technologies of Russia, which contributed $2.26 billion to six ventures.

Internet content and e-commerce companies have attracted the bulk of the $32 billion in venture cash, with this year’s list populated by companies such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Investments through Sept. 26 are almost triple the same period last year, Bloomberg data show.

Private-equity firms typically use loans secured on the targets they acquire to finance more than half of the purchase price and cash from their own funds for the rest. The firms seek to improve performance at the companies they acquire or expand them before selling them within about five years.

Venture capital groups generally invest in start-up businesses to help them grow more rapidly, and early-stage companies that lack easy access to other capital markets to fuel expansion.

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