What private equity needs: Corporate M&A

September 14, 2012, 11:21 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Private equity investment volume is down nearly 10% from this time last year, according to data from Thomson Reuters. And it may not be because buyout shops have less money or less access to bank debt.

Instead, the culprit may be the dearth of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

“What the private equity world really needs is for corporate M&A to pick up,” explains a senior private equity executive. “When companies make acquisitions, it often means that they spin off and sell other businesses. That’s where private equity likes to play – more than the giant take-private deals of a few years ago.”

Take a look at the deal data below, from Thomson Reuters:

Source: Thomson Reuters

Also worth noting that the year’s largest announced private equity deal has been the $7.15 billion acquisition of exploration and production business by Apollo Global Management (APO) and Riverstone Holdings — a deal that was precipitated by Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) planned purchase of El Paso.

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