Let the games begin

Submissions for sister publication Private Equity International’s annual industry awards begin next week, including 12 categories for secondaries.

What a year it has been for the secondaries market. There are still two months to go before the year is out and by all accounts we’re looking at healthy deal volume, with predictions of between $35 billion to $40 billion.

The last 10 months have played host to some of the sector’s most unusual, creative and surprising transactions.

At the big end, Ardian US head Benoît Verbrugghe’s prediction in January that large portfolio sales would hit the market played out in the form of Mubadala Capital’s $2.5 billion stapled deal and Harvard Management Company’s sale of real estate and private equity stakes worth north of $2 billion. Sources tell us there are at least four large $1 billion-plus portfolio sales in progress in North America alone, while at least one Gulf state investor has been offloading large positions in two buyout funds.

We’ve reported on a raft of GP-led deals, including BC Partners’ $1 billion stapled deal, and at least three other high-quality managers launched processes – some more successfully than others.

On the directs side, Headway Capital Partners closed its take-private of London-listed cleantech investor Ludgate Environmental Fund, while in real assets Blackstone’s Strategic Partners executed a $230 million Nordic infrastructure deal in what is understood to be the first tender offer process on a listed infrastructure portfolio.

How best to categorise this year’s deals has been a challenge for our editorial staff. Secondaries deals by their nature are becoming more difficult to classify, by structure and by geography. Take Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s issuance of around $200 million in preferred equity and a primary commitment to Olympus Capital Asia’s Fund V, or EQT’s stapled deal where it used European assets to entice Partners Group to commit to its Asia-focused vehicle.

One could argue the toss over whether the former is a secondaries deal, while the latter could slot into either the EMEA or Asia-Pacific regional categories. Agreeing the shortlists for each of our categories and regions will no doubt be interesting.

Which is why we welcome your help.

The PEI awards categories are broken down by region – Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific – and each region contains four secondaries categories:

  • Secondaries firm of the year
  • Secondaries advisory firm of the year
  • Secondaries deal of the year
  • Secondaries law firm of the year

Our editorial team will draw up shortlists for each category and these will then be put to the readers of Secondaries Investor and PEI to vote on.

While we spend our time studying the secondaries market, we can never know everything, so please feel free to contact us before 10 November with details of some of the landmark events from the last 12 months. We will then take these into consideration when compiling the shortlists.

Submissions can be sent to adam.l@peimedia.com and should include details of why the nominee in each category deserves to be shortlisted.

Good luck to the nominees, and keep your eyes on Secondaries Investor for your chance to vote.

Check out last year’s winners here.