Advent led the 2007 IPO for athletic retailer Lululemon.
2008 Rank: 7
2007 Rank: Not previously ranked
Recent buyout fundraising: $13.3 billion
An American firm that marches to a European beat, Advent has the majority of its dealmakers in London and Frankfurt. It raises money in euros, and its roughly 35 deals per year are mid-market--typical examples being Advent's 2007 IPO for the hot athletic-wear retailer Lululemon and its acquisition of the Hudson Group, owner of the ubiquitous airport newsstands.
Headwind issue: Its niche is getting crowded as megafirms look for smaller deals. It faced five other bidders, including Morgan Stanley, in a losing effort to buy British sandwich chain Pret a Manger.
Worth noting: The firm's annual meeting features a soccer match--which gets serious. The Americas team and the European team agreed to stop bringing in ringers (like Brazilian star Nunes)...but they still bring an ambulance to the game.
Source: Rankings are based on a firm's most recently raised buyout fund(s). Fortune looked at data from Capital IQ, institutional investors, and the companies themselves to determine the size of the most recently raised buyout funds. For some firms that means a fund that was raised in 2007; for others it might be 2006. Whatever the date, the most recent fund was the one we counted. In the case of companies that raise multiple funds simultaneously as opposed to raising a single fund at a time, we chose to count only those private equity funds that were not raised in public markets and that were earmarked for buyouts (as opposed to investments in debt, venture capital, or other ventures).