2008 Rank: 9
2007 Rank: 6
Recent buyout fundraising: $12 billion
Though Providence restricts its shopping list to companies in the flashy world of media and telecom, this buyout firm based in Providence, R.I., is as low key as they come (by masters
of the universe standards.) Providence won't be flying under the radar anymore, however, now that it is ready to close the biggest leveraged buyout ever: the $48.5 billion acquisition
of BCE, parent of Bell Canada.
The firm has no current plans to become the next supermarket of private equity, à la Blackstone and Carlyle, but it is branching out in its own small way. It put $100 million
into Hulu, a web video project created by News Corp. and GE's NBC Universal, and founder Jonathan Nelson is the lead donor for the new $45 million Jonathan M. Nelson Fitness Center at
his alma mater, Brown University.Headwind issue:
Banks are getting skittish about loaning money for big buyouts and no one knows this better than Providence. It is working hard to work with its BCE
bankers--Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and RBS--as they grow less enchanted with the idea of ponying up $15.5 billion in loans.
Previously it sued Wachovia for trying to back out of a $1 billion financing commitment for a deal to acquire 56 TV stations from Clear Channel Communications.Worth noting:
Nelson may keep a low profile but he likes high adrenaline adventures like helicopter skiing in Greenland.NEXT: First Reserve