Here’s A Sign That Investors May Be Too Pessimistic About Brick And Mortar Retailers

A select group of Wall Street executives is buying up assets at a pace that has rarely been seen before. The wallets of these big-game hunters—private-equity executives—collectively carry more than $1 trillion in cash, which they call dry powder, plus seemingly endless lines of credit. Almost no corporate target is outside their crosshairs.

Last year, helped by a relatively strong dollar and low interest rates, New York’s PE executives spent like a bunch of giddy tourists. They were buyers in 15 of the 20 largest deals involving city-based companies last year, according to Crain’s research. In all, they had a hand in 4,191 deals worldwide, worth a total of $347 billion.

More big deals are on the way because the firms are rolling in cash. And the recent market volatility might be more good news for them, as it could prompt weaker companies to sell at a discount. Last year Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management raised a record $24.6 billion private-equity fund in just six months, less than half the time it took Blackstone Group to raise a then-record $6.5 billion in 2002. North American private-equity firms raised a record $272 billion in new cash last year, according to research firm Preqin.

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