New entry 1Robert Tchenguiz property tycoon

Robert Tchenguiz has just sold Whyte & Mackay, with his brother-in-law, for £595m. He's already made a killing following a refinancing deal at Somerfield, in which his Violet Acquisitions has a 20% stake, with the promise of a further return from a second refinancing (or sell-off) still to come. Earlier this year he took a 5.1% stake in Sainsbury's, and continues to make overtures to the supermarket chain's board pushing to split it into an opco-propco. Tchenguiz owns a string of pubs and other retail property. When a deal is mooted, on the high street, or to buy a big brand, Tchenguiz is almost always the first name mentioned.

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New entry 2Philip Yea Chief executive 3i Group

Nobody knows the drinks industry better than Philip Yea, chief executive of the 3i Group, the only private equity firm to be quoted in the FTSE 100. Prior to joining 3i in 2004, he was with Guinness and, as it became, Diageo, where for six years he was group financial director. He took over 3i when it was reeling from the aftershock of the dotcom boom. He has realigned the business, producing profits last year of £855m, and re-established it as a major force in investment. Yea is enjoying himself, proclaiming: "While it may seem unfair that the private equity model has the advantage, that surely is capitalism, and those with the advantage win."

New entry 3David Blitzer Senior managing director Blackstone

As the London head of Blackstone, the US private equity giant, Blitzer is seen as a fearless but decidedly shrewd investor. One of his better-known deals - although not huge in the Blackstone context - was to bankroll Gordon Ramsay's international ventures. Typically, Blackstone will buy a rundown hotel, refurbish it and partner Ramsay as the chef, who leases the hotel restaurant, looks after the food and the room service and pockets a share of the profits. Blackstone was also involved in the £1.6bn acquisition of United Biscuits, stealing it from under the nose of Premier Foods, and its food and drink stable includes Orangina, Tragus (the Café Rouge restaurant chain conglomerate) and, until recently, The Spirit Group chain. Blitzer has an £8.5bn war chest permanently at his disposal, enough to buy virtually any front-rank business in Britain. He has worked with Blackstone since 1991 after graduating from Wharton business school in Pennsylvania.

New entry 4Damon Buffini Managing partner Permira

One of the biggest home-grown private equity firms, Permira is best known in the City as the owner of the AA, but its £1.25bn acquisition of Birds Eye from Unilever last year is the latest addition to a strong portfolio of food and drink players that includes Tetley, a Spanish supermarket group, and a clutch of other household names. Managing partner Buffini is the son of an American serviceman, but grew up on a council estate in Leicester and went to Cambridge and Harvard universities. He spun off tthe venture capital arm of Schroders, the City bank, to create Permira. Moves to make Birds Eye Iglo more efficient have led to factory closures and conflict with the unions making Buffini a target for the left. He is worth £100m.

New entry 5Philippe Costeletos Partner Texas Pacific Group

Costeletos was the brain behind Texas Pacific Group's high-profile buy-out of Debenhams, which has been described as the classic private equity deal. Texas Pacific Group also shot to prominence after it prompted a staff walkout at the airline catering firm Gate Gourmet in 2005 and sacked the strikers. A native of Greece, Costeletos has been with the company since 2003, joining from Investcorp where he was involved in a number of buy-outs in Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. His nickname in the industry is the 'Texan hitter'.

New entry 6Guy Hands Chief Executive terra firma

Nobody in the city enjoys a higher profile than Guy Hands. Until last month, his Terra Firma fund owned the Thresher Group, but it has just been sold to a consortium led by Edmund Truell, the Duke Street private equity and pension investor. Like Tchenguiz, Hands and his Terry Firma fund - in which he has invested £65m of his own money - are mentioned in connection with anything that moves. He achieved financial fame with the unlikely act of making his then employer, the Japanese bank Nomura, Britain's biggest pub landlord. What characterises Hands is his lack of devotion to fashion - he is perfectly happy owning unglamorous assets, provided they produce a return. He was linked to KKR's recent £11bn bid for Alliance Boots and made £1bn profit from the sale of Waste Recycling Group. Still on the books of Terra Firma are pub chains, hotels and motorway service stations. New entry

New entry 7Martin Halusa Worldwide CEO APax partners

Halusa succeeded the redoubtable Sir Ronald Cohen as worldwide head of Apax Partners, the London-based private equity firm. In food and drink and retail, Apax is the majority shareholder in Somerfield, and owns Panrico, the Spanish and Portuguese bakery supplier. Halusa is very different from the patrician Sir Ronald. Less well-known, he is the son of a diplomat and has lived in Paris, Washington and India, although he currently lives in London. He has an MBA from Harvard. New entry

New entry 8Peter Cummings chief exec, corporate HBOS

When Philip Green wanted to buy Marks & Spencer he knew where to turn - Peter Cummings at HBOS. Known as the banker to the superstars, Cummings backed Green at Arcadia and supported the Barclay brothers in their purchase of Littlewoods. He has also worked closely with Sir Tom Hunter and Rocco Forte. Cummings has made the Bank of Scotland side of HBOS a daring commercial lender, one that is prepared to back hunches and individuals. A Scot and based in Edinburgh, his relationship with Green is extremely close. If the billionaire decided to launch another takeover, the chances of Cummings being in his corner are extremely high.

New entry 9Michael Smith Chairman CVC Capital partners Group

Smith is chairman and co-founder of CVC, one of the biggest private equity players, although his publicity-shy nature means he has a lower profile than many others on the list. He led its buy-out from Citigroup, the huge US bank, and has steered CVC through a series of spectacular deals - Kwik-Fit, Debenhams, Halfords - before his recent crack at Sainsbury's. Today CVC owns 44 companies employing 309,000 people worldwide, including Leaf Confectionery in the Netherlands and the Skylark restaurant chain in Japan. Smith is leading an aggressive expansion into Asia-Pacific region while all the time maintaining a ready eye on Europe and the United Kingdom.

New entry 10Johannes Huth head of london office KKR

A German fluent in four languages, Huth has run the UK end of industry giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for nine years. He changed the face of financing by inviting the public to invest in KKR. Initially, he hoped the float in Amsterdam would raise £750,000. In the end he got £3bn to add to the cash mountain at his fingertips. In the past, KKR has owned Safeway and RJR Nabisco.