— Los Angeles County firms in the private equity, venture capital and investment banking sectors were involved in some of the largest and most noteworthy deals in the U.S. last year.

Among those was the $6.9 billion sale last May of Chicago-based Tribune Media Co., a portfolio company of downtown-based Oaktree Capital Management, which was No. 4 on the Business Journal’s list of the top 44 private equity firms in L.A. County ranked by assets under management.

The area last year also saw its largest initial public offering, as Venice-based Snap Inc. raised $3.4 billion to set a new local mark.

The year was particularly stellar for local private equity firms based here. The 44 on the Business Journal’s list this week increased their assets under management by 22 percent in 2017, for a total of $141 billion (list starts on page 12).

Century City-based Ares Management held its No. 1 spot with $25 billion under management, followed by No. 2, Sawtelle-based Leonard Green & Partners, which saw its assets leap 64 percent to $23 billion year-to-year. Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors moved up two spots to No. 3 by almost doubling its assets from the year before, and now manages $22.7 billion in assets.

“What I’ve seen across the L.A. market is that you continue to see private equity firms get larger and larger,” said Adam Feit, Los Angeles market president for Union Bank.

There were some big money moves for liquidity and some large reloads last year.

Top-listed Oaktree Capital sold almost $12 billion of its portfolio, including the $4.4 billion sale of Ohio-based food producer and distributor AdvancePierre Foods Holdings Inc. and the $967 million sale of Tembec Inc., a paper company in Montreal.

Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, ranked No. 5, closed a $6.5 billion investment fund in March 2017 from more than 200 limited partners in 28 countries, the company said.

“Our expanded access to capital combined with investments we’ve made in recent years to grow our team has opened doors to more opportunities. We closed more than 20 acquisitions last year across a broad range of different industries,” Mark Barnhill, partner at Platinum told the Business Journal via email.

He expects 2018 to be a good year too.

“That momentum has carried through this year and we’ve already completed eight new acquisitions in the first quarter,” he said.

Union Bank’s Feit said he has noticed an L.A. trend of executives leaving big firms and starting their own companies.


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