The secondary market is exploding. Total volume hit $49.3 billion last year, a 37 percent increase from 2013. A total of 1,270 were executed at an average size of $37.7 million, The deals included sales of stakes in private equity, venture capital, real estate, hedge and infrastructure funds.
Activity was driven by the largest buyers, including AXA spin-out Ardian, which deployed $10.8 billion on secondary deals last year, Buyouts previously reported. Large buyers, or those who deployed more than $1 billion, accounted for 59.8 percent of the total volume, while mid-sized buyers represented about 34.9 percent, Setter said. Large secondary firms like Ardian, Lexington Partners, Pantheon, HarbourVest and Coller Capital, have all raised large funds in recent years and have had fresh capital ready to deploy into the markets. The funds have met demand from a growing universe of sellers, limited partners who have been drawn to the secondary market because of historically high prices. “When prices are high buyers and sellers can agree,” said Peter McGrath, managing director at Setter.