Recent buyout fundraising: $11 billion
Description: When it opened in 1990, Providence was a quiet niche player that made big money on small media and telco deals. Fellow buyout firms took notice when Providence invested $63 million in VoiceStream Wireless (later renamed T-Mobile) in 1992, then sold it to Deutsche Telekom in 2000 for 19 times its investment. Providence has been on a roll - its reported rate of return is 70 percent. A nonstop cash influx and new offices in New Delhi and Hong Kong should calm limited partners concerned about smaller stakes in pricier club deals and rising multiples in the firm's sectors in the U.S.
Boldface advisors: Former FCC chairman Michael Powell.
Fun fact: Rhode Island-based CEO Jonathan Nelson takes the firm on an annual ski trip to Alta, Utah.