Insight

2021 was a record-shattering year for private equity M&A

PE deal volume and deal value jumped over 2020—and high M&A activity is poised to continue in 2022.

Joe Hartman

Joe Hartman

Partner, Advisory, Financial Due Diligence, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2489

Mark Golovcsenko

Mark Golovcsenko

Principal, ESG Strategy Leader, KPMG US

+1 212-954-2373

PE deal making in 2021 set an all-time high. Overall deal volume increased by 35 percent from the previous year while deal value jumped by 77 percent on the back of many high-value transactions.

Among other factors, M&A was driven by ample dry powder, ultra-low interest rates, and possible hikes to capital gains and corporate taxes which accelerated deals before policy implementation.

A deeper look at these PE trends reveals key characteristics of the market last year.

  • Domestic deals still made up the bulk of PE transactions (72 percent) and outbound deals increased slightly compared to 2020
  • The technology, media, & telecom and industrial manufacturing sectors led in deal value—together constituting 60 percent of PE’s total—primarily driven by the pursuit of digital transformation and tech capabilities
  • The healthcare & life sciences and consumer & retail sectors registered the highest growth rate in deal value—132 percent and 90 percent, respectively
  • SPACs continued to play an increasing role in PE funds’ exit strategy compared to traditional IPOs
  • PE firms increasingly incorporated ESG-driven investments into their portfolios

Looking ahead to 2022, abundant liquidity and dry powder are likely to drive continued high levels of PE M&A activity. But growth may cool somewhat due to a more hawkish monetary policy, inflation, high valuation multiples, and other headwinds. Overall deal appetite remains strong. According to a yearend KPMG survey, 65 percent of senior executive respondents plan to increase their deal activity in 2022.

PE Deal Volume and Deal Value ($ Billion)

PE Deal Volume and Deal Value


Our 2021 report unpacks these trends and what’s ahead—including deep dives on three topics:


Download the full report to uncover what is happening in PE, how deals are being done today—and why.

Contact us

Joe Hartman

Joe Hartman

Partner, Advisory, Financial Due Diligence, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2489
Mark Golovcsenko

Mark Golovcsenko

Principal, ESG Strategy Leader, KPMG US

+1 212-954-2373
Rebecca Brokmeier

Rebecca Brokmeier

Managing Director, Corporate Finance, KPMG US

+1 312-665-3152
Chrisanne Corbett

Chrisanne Corbett

Managing Director, Corporate Finance, KPMG Corporate Finance LLC

+1 312-665-2779
Randy Fike

Randy Fike

Managing Director, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG US

+1 850-247-5888
Misha Edel

Misha Edel

Managing Director, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG US

+1 510-282-9758
Grace Wang

Grace Wang

Director, Deal Advisory & Strategy, KPMG US

+1 319-541-9739