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TPG grabs number one spot for private equity

TPG, the private equity firm that pulled out of investing in Bradford & Bingley at the eleventh hour last year, has become the largest buyout group in the world, according to new research.

The US group climbed from third last year, replacing the Carlyle Group at the top, a new report by Private Equity International (PEI) said. Carlyle fell to third, behind Goldman Sachs' private equity arm.

The industry publication calculated the size of the 300 largest companies in the sector by compiling the direct-capital investment raised over the past five years. TPG raised $52.3bn, with Goldman Sachs totalling $48.9bn and Carlyle close behind with $47.7bn.

The largest UK-based fund was CVC Capital Partners, which came in at seventh, dropping two places over 2008 with $33.73bn in capital raised. Another British fund was the biggest faller, as Permira, run by Damon Buffini, sank from eighth to twenty second. It raised $12.67bn.

Among other big name US groups, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts remained in fourth with $40.46bn raised and Blackstone climbed two places to eighth with $30.8bn.

PEI has previously studied just the top 50 firms, but increased it to 300 for the first time this year. David Snow, executive editor of PEI, said: "As with last year, the line-up of the top 50 firms has not remained static. Some firms managed to raise sizeable fundraisings, which boosted their ranks significantly."

The survey found that two thirds of the top firms are based in the US, with the UK equal with Europe at 11.3 per cent each. Since January 2004, they have invested $1.81 trillion in a number of industries, with over 17 per cent going on telecommunications firms, and 13.8 per cent in healthcare.