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Largest Private Equity Firms by AUM: PE Firms by AUM in 2024

Neha Gupta, CFA| Updated January 10th, 2024

Private equity firms controlled about $4.8 trillion in assets under management (AUM) globally as of the end of 2022, according to Preqin figures. In 2028, global private equity AUM is forecast to reach $8.5 trillion. The AUM refers to the market value of the assets that PE firms manage on behalf of their investors.

There are thousands of private equity firms worldwide. However, a large chunk of PE assets are concentrated in the hands of a handful of top firms. A firm’s AUM figure speaks to its size and reputation.

Want to know the largest private equity firm by AUM? In this article, we explore the world’s 13 top PE firms by assets under management in 2024 and their investment strategy. Many firms run multiple investment divisions, and some bundle assets across those units. We only selected firms that break out their private equity division AUM. 

Here’s the list of the top private equity firms in the world by assets under management.

Largest PE firms by AUM in 2024

Private Equity Firm AUM Date Reported AUM Reference
KKR & Co.  $174B Sept-2023 KKR AUM 
Carlyle Group $161B Sept-2023 Carlyle Group AUM
Brookfield  $139B Sept-2023 Brookfield AUM
Blackstone  $137B Sept-2023 Blackstone AUM
Thoma Bravo $131B Jun-2023 Thoma Bravo AUM
CVC Capital Partners $120B Sept-2023 CVC Capital Partners AUM
Ardian Private Equity $116B Sept-2023 Ardian Private Equity AUM
TPG Capital $109B Sept-2023 TPG Capital AUM
Vista Equity Partners $101B Jun-2023 Vista Equity Partners AUM
Silver Lake $101B Jun-2023 Silver Lake AUM
Neuberger Berman $88B Sept-2023 Neuberger Berman AUM
Warburg Pincus  $84B Sept-2023 Warburg Pincus AUM
Apollo Global $76B Sept-2023 Apollo Global AUM

KKR is the largest private equity firm in the world. It has $174 billion in assets under management in its PE branch. Carlyle Group and Brookfield are the top 3 private equity firms by AUM, alongside KKR.

KKR & Co.

  • AUM: $174 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
kkr-logo

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) is a global investment company with diverse operations. It invests in real estate, credit, infrastructure and private equity assets. It’s considered the pioneer of private equity investing. KKR’s private equity arm has $174 billion in assets under management.

Some of KKR’s biggest PE deal hits include the 1980s buyout of American supermarket chain Safeway. KKR made an initial investment of about $130 million in the Safeway buyout and made over $7 billion in the end.

KKR also made a fortune from its investment in software developer AppLovin. It walked away with more than $6 billion following an initial investment of $400 million in AppLovin.

KKR’s PE unit has a portfolio of 130 companies. Its portfolio includes Canadian dental support group 123Dentist, British speciality chemicals and industrial gas manufacturer A-GAS, and Indian financial services provider Avendus.

Carlyle Group

  • AUM: $161 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
the carlyle group

Carlyle Group is a global investment company that manages assets on behalf of investors across categories such as private equity and credit. Carlyle’s private equity branch has $161 billion in assets under management, making Carlyle one of the biggest PE firms in the world. Carlyle’s total AUM across its various asset classes is $382 billion.

The PE unit has more than 290 portfolio companies across dozens of countries. Carlyle’s private equity funds have invested in healthcare, financial services, technology, and aerospace industries.

Brookfield

  • AUM: $139 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
brookfield-logo

Brookfield is a Canadian multinational investment company. One of its main investing areas is private equity. Brookfield’s PE division has $139 billion in AUM. The PE unit’s portfolio companies represent a broad range of industries, from financial services to infrastructure assets providers and manufacturers.

Brookfield’s private equity venture seeks out high-quality businesses that offer essential products. It acquires the businesses and transforms them to create long-term value. Brookfield has been in the investment business since 1899, making it not only one of the largest PE firms in the world but also one of the oldest.

Blackstone

  • AUM: $137 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
blackstone-logo

Blackstone is a boutique investment house with multiple divisions spanning real estate, credit and private equity. Blackstone’s PE branch has $137 billion in assets under management.

Across all its investing divisions, Blackstone’s total AUM stands at $1 trillion, making it the world’s largest investment company.

Blackstone’s PE unit has invested in a portfolio of more than 120 companies across a diverse range of industries. The unit invests in both established and startup companies. Its portfolio companies include dating app operator Bumble and digital family history service provider Ancestry.

Blackstone’s PE division seeks out companies with untapped potential and works to enhance their performance before selling them or taking them through the IPO.

Blackstone’s previous private equity investments include Hilton Hotels, Travelport and British biscuit producer United Biscuits.

Thoma Bravo

  • AUM: $131 billion
  • Reporting date: June 30
thomabravo-logo

Thoma Bravo is an American private equity firm that specialises in the technology sector. It particularly acquires companies that develop business software. Thoma Bravo has $131 billion in assets under management. It has over 75 portfolio companies in software businesses ranging from cybersecurity to fintech.

Thoma Bravo raises additional capital frequently to fund its buyouts. In addition to taking money from investors, the PE firm borrows to fund its buyout war chest. The firm’s recent major buyout deals include property management software provider RealPage and security software provider Proofpoint.

CVC Capital Partners

  • AUM: $120 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
cvc-logo

CVC Capital Partners is a European global investment house that manages private equity, credit and other assets on behalf of investors. Private equity is its largest division, with $120 billion in assets under management.

CVC Capital Partners operates private equity funds through which it has invested in dozens of companies in a range of industries. Most of the firm’s PE investments are in Europe and America, though it has been expanding in Asia. CVC Capital Partners has been in the private equity investing business since 1981.

Ardian Private Equity

  • AUM: $116 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
ardian-logo

The largest PE firms by AUM list include Ardian. A French investment house with a global footprint, Ardian invests in a broad range of assets, including private equity, credit and real estate.

Private equity is Ardian’s largest investment unit, with $116 billion in assets under management. Across its various investment divisions, Ardian has a total AUM of $156 billion.

Ardian’s private equity branch has invested in a portfolio of 127 companies, mostly in Europe and America.

In recent years, Ardian has made sustainability a central focus of its investment strategy. It has a sustainability team that works with the management of its portfolio companies to develop sustainability roadmaps and targets.

TPG Capital

  • AUM: $109 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
tpg-logo

Founded in 1992, TPG Capital is one of the oldest and largest PE firms in the technology sector. The American investment house has a diversified investment strategy spanning private equity, credit, real estate and market solutions. TPG’s private equity arm has $109 billion in AUM. The firm’s total AUM across all the investment divisions is $212 billion.

TPG has more than 300 portfolio companies representing virtually all industries across 30 countries. Its notable portfolio companies include Airtel, Acorns, Alloy Properties and Allogene.

Vista Equity Partners

  • AUM: $101 billion
  • Reporting date: June 30
vista-logo

Vista Equity Partners is a technology-focused private equity firm founded in 2000. Vista operates several private equity funds through which it has invested in dozens of companies.

It exclusively invests in technology businesses, providing solutions to various industries. While Vista has footprints in over 180 countries, it mostly invests in America and Europe. Vista’s AUM stands at $101 billion.

Vista identifies businesses with great potential, acquires them, and works to grow and transform them into better companies. While Vista primarily makes solo investments, it also teams up with other private equity firms to complete large deals.

Silver Lake

  • AUM: $101 billion
  • Reporting date: June 30
silver lake logo

Silver Lake is one of the largest technology private equity firms alongside Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners. It has $101 billion in assets under management, which is spread across investments in several dozen technology companies in America and abroad. Silver Lake’s AUM has grown from $90 billion in 2022.

Silver Lake’s notable portfolio companies include self-driving car company Waymo and China’s Alibaba digital payments affiliate Ant Group.

Founded in 1999, Silver Lake is considered one of the oldest and largest private equity firms in the technology space.

Neuberger Berman Group

  • AUM: $88 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
neuberger berman logo

Neuberger Berman Group is a global investment house with a diversified strategy. It invests in equity, real estate and credit assets in both public and private markets. Neuberger Berman’s private equity arm has $88 billion in AUM. Across all its investment divisions, the group has $439 billion in assets under management.

Neuberger Berman PE has invested in dozens of companies in diverse industries around the globe. The group boasts more than three decades of private equity investing.

Warburg Pincus

  • AUM: $84 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
warburg pincus logo

Warburg Pincus is an American multinational private equity firm with $84 billion in assets under management. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus is one of the largest PE firms by AUM and one of the oldest players in the private equity business.   

Warburg Pincus invests in a broad range of sectors, including healthcare, industrial, financial, technology, and energy. It has more than 250 portfolio companies spread across 10 countries.

Apollo Global Management

  • AUM: $76 billion
  • Reporting date: September 30
Apollo logo

Apollo is a diversified global investment house. It invests in real estate, credit and private equity assets across industries. Apollo ranks among the largest private equity firms in the world by AUM. Apollo’s PE division has more than $76 billion in assets under management. The PE unit has more than 190 portfolio companies of various sizes.

While Apollo mostly invests alone, it also teams up with other private equity firms to complete large buyout deals. For example, it joined forces with a group of other investment firms to acquire Atlas Air Worldwide. Apollo’s recent major lone buyout deals include the acquisition of chemicals provider Univar Solutions.

How Private Equity Firms Work

Private equity firms raise funds from investors, which they call limited partners, and use the money to invest in private companies. They usually operate multiple funds through which they invest in target businesses. Apart from funds raised from investors, PE firms can also use borrowed money to allow them to make large investments where necessary.

A PE firm can invest in an existing private company or acquire a public company and take it private. They run these businesses for some time, usually 3 – 5 years, and aim to sell them at a profit, including taking them public if the opportunity arises. Private equity firms seek to produce market-beating returns for their investors.

Because private equity firms bring management expertise to the companies they acquire, they earn management fees. That is one way the firms make money. They also make money when they sell the businesses at a profit.

Investors invest in private equity for various reasons. One reason is to diversify their portfolios outside traditional investment products since private equity is considered an alternative asset class. Others invest in private equity in pursuit of higher returns. Private markets have routinely outperformed public markets. Others still invest in private equity because they present lower volatility.

How to Invest in a Private Equity Firm

You can invest in private equity firms directly or indirectly. The option you choose largely depends on how deep your pockets are.

In a direct investment, you identify the private equity firms that align with your interests and contact them about joining their investor group. You may ask to join a specific investment fund operated by the PE firm.

To make a direct investment in a PE fund, you must qualify as an accredited investor. This is where it gets complicated. According to SEC regulations, you must be earning at least $200,000 a year if single or have a net worth of more than $1 million to be considered an accredited investor.

Aside from SEC requirements on net worth, most PE firms also have minimum investment requirements ranging from several thousand dollars to millions.

The indirect investment option is more accessible to most investors. You can invest indirectly in a PE firm through an ETF that tracks the private equity market. Private equity ETFs come in various shapes. Some invest directly in private equity firms, while others invest in private companies alongside PE firms. Invesco Global Listed Private Equity Portfolio (NYSE ARCA: PSP) and  ProShares Global Listed Private Equity ETF (PEX) are two examples of private equity ETFs. 

There’s another option you may have, which is to invest in a private equity firm. In some cases, PE companies have publicly traded stock you can purchase in the open market. Some of the PE firms with publicly traded stocks are Blackstone, KKR and Brookfield. But bear in mind that investing in the stock of a PE company only gives you limited exposure to the private equity market.

Conclusion

Since the AUM figure speaks to the size and reputation of a PE firm, investors tend to be more attracted to the largest private equity firms by AUM. While there may be high barriers to investing directly in a PE firm, you can still get exposure to the private equity market more easily through an ETF or PE stock.

FAQs

What Do Private Equity Firms Do?

Private equity firms raise money from investors, called limited partners, and invest it in private companies. PE firms invest in businesses of all sizes across industries, though some specialise in specific industries.

What Are the Big Four Private Equity Firms?

The big four private equity firms by AUM are KKR, Carlyle Group, Brookfield and Blackstone. These firms operate multiple private equity funds through which they may invest in an existing private company or acquire a publicly traded company and take it private.

Why Do People Go into Private Equity?

Private equity is considered an alternative asset class. As a result, many people invest in private equity to diversify their portfolios. Others go into private equity to achieve better yields since private markets have historically outperformed public markets.

Neha Gupta, CFA
Contributor

Neha is a seasoned finance professional with over 17 years of work experience in the investing field.

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