Private equity firms come and go, as all of them are subject to volatile markets and recessions. But some of them have weathered it all and come out on top. Several firms still do great work, having overcome internal and market turmoil and adapted to an economy now centered on technology, the Internet, and on-demand business. Here’s a brief look at three of the firms who have done it best, and for a long time: KKR, Cerberus Capital Management, and the Blackstone Group.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has consistently been one of the top equity firms in the country. The company was founded in 1976 and now operates 21 offices in 15 different countries. Together, these offices manage $102 billion and generate enormous returns. But the company has always been cautious in its decisions, reconsidering a 2007 decision to go public because of poor market conditions and electing to go public again in 2010. Henry Kravis and his cousin George R. Roberts wanted to ensure the company they built would last, always paying employees well and offering generous donations to charities. Through hard work and careful decision-making, KKR has weathered forty years as a firm to come out on top.
Cerberus Capital Management
Cerberus Capital Management, a firm younger than KKR by sixteen years, is currently one of the world’s leading investment firms. The company manages $29 billion and has conducted major deals with Chrysler, Albertson’s, and Bushmaster Firearms. Though Cerberus is a smaller company than others listed here, it’s known for excellent service and a wide range of expertise. Recently, the company positioned itself to purchase cosmetics giant Avon, further expanding Cerberus’s considerable portfolio.
The Blackstone Group, founded in 1985, has grown to become one of the largest private equity firms in the world. With a portfolio of over $36 billion and deals with corporations like The Weather Channel and Hilton Worldwide, Blackstone has been behind some of the largest-ever leveraged buyouts. The company went public in 2007 but struggled to close transactions in the years following. Now on the upswing, Blackstone also reserves some of its funds for charitable efforts and it may begin selling some of its trophy assets to streamline the business.