Private equity firms spent much of the first quarter selling off a record amount of stock in follow-on offerings.
Buyout shops sold $20.5 billion in shares during the first three months of the year, the highest quarterly pace on record, according to Dealogic. Also record-breaking was the proportion of follow-on offerings that p.e. firms were responsible for in the quarter, 51%. And the 50 offerings were twice as many as in the first quarter of last year.
The sales helped push p.e. firm's U.S.-listed stock ownership down by 91% to about $80 billion, according to Ipreo.
The sales come amidst a major market rally that has pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 Index up more than 10% this year. Among the biggest deals of the quarter were Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts' sale of $1.8 billion in HCA Holdings shares and Apollo Global Management's unloading of $1.5 billion in LyondellBasell Industries shares.
Nor do things appear to be slowing: Apollo will price a $1.5 billion sale of Realogy Holdings shares today.