A group of private equity investors is purchasing a majority stake in New York-based Focus Financial Partners, a leading consolidator of advisory firms.

The group, led by Greenwich, Conn.-based Stone Point Capital and New York-based KKR, is buying an interest in Focus from private equity investors Centerbridge Partners, Summit Partners and Polaris Partners, wealth management affiliates and employees.

It is the third liquidity event for Focus in recent years. The firm has also considered selling shares in an IPO several times in recent years but has not proceeded. IPO investors typically have been more interested in fast-growing biotech or high-tech companies than mature industries like investment advice and management.

The buyers value Focus at $2 billion, but because of the firm’s size and complexity, arriving at price figures for value and AUM is difficult. A firm the size of Focus requires frequent financial engineering.

Some investment bankers considered the $2 billion valuation "a strech" and wondered how much additional leverage the new acquirers put on Focus. The consolidator was believed to have more than $700 million in debt and preferred stock before the latest transaction.

Nonetheless, the advisory business is doing well.  Focus is "growing through acquisitions and sub-acquisitions," said David DeVoe, an M&A specialist in the RIA space. But because it is not a public company, there is little insight into what DeVoe calls "same-store sales."

Focus is a partnership of more than 45 independent firms in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K., and a joint venture in China. Focus’s largest RIA subsidiary, the St. Louis-based BAM Alliance, includes the behemoth $9 billion AUM Buckingham Asset Management and the $18 billion AUM BAM Advisor Services. Other top firms in the Focus network include The Colony Group in Boston, Fort Pitt Capital Group of Pittsburgh, and Douglas C. Lane of New York City.

In 2016, the aggregator completed more than 20 acquisitions, and has announced six already for 2017. The transaction is expected to close in 2017. Additional terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Stone Point has investments in NFP and Kestra. KKR reportedly was the high bidder for LPL Financial Services last fall, but their offer was rejected as insufficient.