PEI Awards 2023: Blackstone, Kirkland, Evercore among North America winners

The region continues to play host to the world's largest LP and GP-led markets.

North America maintained its leading position in the secondaries market last year, accounting for 57 percent of deal volume in the LP-led market and 68 percent of deal volume in the GP-led space, according to data from Lazard.

In 2023, the region saw Blackstone Strategic Partners and Lexington Partners close the market’s two biggest secondaries programmes. It was also home to one of the largest continuation fund deals ever closed, which was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Blackstone, HarbourVest Partners and other major secondaries buyers.

Below are the winners across the four secondaries categories in the region for affiliate title Private Equity International’s PEI Awards 2023. We congratulate the winners!

Secondaries Deal of the Year in the Americas

1. Blackstone Strategic Partners, HarbourVest Partners, Lexington Partners, Pantheon and Evercore for Alpine Investors GP-led process
2. Ardian, Blackstone, Apollo and PJT Park Hill for Kaiser Permanente LP sale
3. Lexington Partners, AlpInvest, Hamilton Lane, Adams Street Partners, Pomona Capital, Unigestion, Pantheon, Atalaya Capital Management, StepStone Group and Lazard for Wells Fargo/Norwest

In what is one of the biggest continuation fund deals to have ever closed, Alpine Investors moved residential HVAC, plumbing and electrical services platform Apex Service Partners into a separate vehicle, backed by capital from some of the best-known secondaries buyers in the market. Alpine used capital from its latest flagship fund to invest in the $3.4 billion process in this Evercore-advised transaction.

Secondaries Firm of the Year in the Americas

1. Blackstone Strategic Partners
2. HarbourVest Partners
3. Whitehorse Liquidity Partners

Blackstone’s secondaries unit started the year off with a bang, having raised one of the world’s largest secondaries programme for its ninth flagship fund, which closed on $22.2 billion. It also raised $2.7 billion for its dedicated GP-led fund, meaning it has almost $25 billion to deploy from this programme. This is Strategic Partners’ second win in a row in this category and third overall.

Secondaries Law Firm of the Year in the Americas

1. Kirkland & Ellis
2. Ropes & Gray
3. Proskauer

Kirkland & Ellis extends its winning streak in this category, having amassed just under half of all votes cast. The law firm advised on transactions worth $124.5 billion in North America alone during the qualifying period. In North America, the firm advised GPs including Alpine Investors, Madison Dearborn Partners, Kinderhook Industries and Onex Partners. On the LP portfolio side, it advised Norwest Equity Partners and Norwest Mezzanine Partners on their spin-out from Wells Fargo.

Secondaries Adviser of the Year in the Americas

1. Evercore
2. PJT Partners
3. Lazard

Evercore continues to dominate in this category, having won this award every year since 2016. The firm worked on as much as $30 billion of North American volume during the period. On the GP-led side, this included a $3 billion-plus transaction, a $2 billion-plus deal, two $1 billion-plus deals and over 10 mid-market and single-asset continuation funds for firms including Alpine Investors, Leonard Green & Partners, GTCR and L Catterton. It advised on as many as 45 LP portfolio deals during the period.

Here is the full list of winners across all the categories on PEI.