The chart that never goes down
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Between 2004 and 2008—considered by many to be the boom days of private equity—PE’s combined company inventory climbed 74% in the United States. Over the span of five years, in other words, the number of companies under PE control came fairly close to doubling. That was an unsustainable pace in hindsight, and inventory growth in the intervening years has slowed dramatically (up 26% between 2009 and 2013 and up only 20% between 2014 and 2018).