Private Equity: Bigger Funds Not Necessarily Better

Private equity firms are raising increasingly bigger funds, but they don’t necessarily deliver bigger returns. This according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. “The rise of megafunds reflects the growing demand for private equity from large investors such as sovereign-wealth funds with hundreds of millions of dollars to put to work,” the article explains, adding that persistently low interest rates, private equity’s reputation for double-digit returns is enticing, even if it means… Read More

BlackRock is Trying to Fix Private Equity

A new private equity fund created by BlackRock is intended to hold companies for “up to forever” while addressing the issue of high fees, according to an article in Institutional Investor. The fund has been created by BlackRock’s long-term private capital team (LTPC) under the leadership of Andre Bourbonnais and fellow Canadian Mark Wiseman (chairman of the firm’s alternative-investment unit and global head of active equities). The two men structured the new fund, the article… Read More

Private Equity Returns More Illusion than Reality

A CFA Institute article offers analysis of private equity returns in the U.S. (using data from Cambridge Associates). Using the data, the Institute created a U.S. Private Equity Index the compare the industry’s performance against the S&P 500: But while the data shows outperformance, the article notes that the trend is “more illusion than reality. After all,” it says, “private equity portfolio companies are typically valued on a quarterly basis so lack a daily time… Read More

Some Buyout Firms Taking Debt-Laced Dividends

A new Moody’s report shows that certain aggressive buyout firms are taking debt-financed dividends from the companies they own, and “potentially jeopardizing their ability to navigate a downturn,” according to an article in Institutional Investor. The report shows that, since the end of 2009, Leonard Green & Partners, American Securities, Golden Gate Capital, TPG, and Apollo Global Management “have most frequently taken debt-financed dividends from companies they’ve bought,” with Apollo standing out because the dividends… Read More

S&P Global Says Watch for Aggressive Private Equity Tactics

According to an article in Institutional Investor, a new report published by S&P Global Ratings suggests “It might be worth questioning the earnings of companies being bought by private equity firms.” “In analysis of companies involved in deal making in 2015,” the article says, “S&P found that the earnings projections were unrealistically high on average across leveraged buyouts and mergers due to so-called ‘add-backs’—adjustments made to account for expected costs savings or an anticipated rise… Read More

In Private Equity, the Past May Be a Guide to Future Results

A new study supports the notion that private equity and venture capital managers that “do well with one fund are more likely to do well with the next,” according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The study, conducted by data company PitchBook, supports data reflected in several academic studies, the article says. However, the question remains as to whether performance comes down to a firm’s methods or the talent of individual deal makers.… Read More

Private Equity Market is Consolidating, Data Shows

According to a white paper by advisory firm Triago, private equity firms have acquired their peers in more than 150 deals since 2005, with 65% of the deals occurring in the past five years and a record of more than 25 in 2017. This according to a recent article in Institutional Investor. The paper suggests that the consolidation is a sign that the market has “grown up,” reflecting firms’ efforts to expand their strategies and… Read More

Private Equity is Losing Its Appeal, But You’re Already Invested

“Even if you’ve never talked to a fund manager, or don’t have any idea what a leveraged buyout is, your financial future still depends on this enigmatic world of finance, full of risks and promises usually reserved for wealthy investors.” This according to a recent article in the Boston Globe. The article points out that major pension funds have billions invested in private equity and that, even if you’re not in line for a state… Read More

Private Equity Performance Numbers May Undermine Credibility

Internal rate of return (IRR), the key performance measure of private equity firms, is at the risk of being “massaged in a way that undermines the industry’s credibility and adds dangers when a downturn comes,” according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The IRR, the article explains, is based on a complex set of numbers tied to fund cash flows but the increased use of bridge financing by firms (borrowing money to… Read More

Does Private Equity Beat the Market?

A recent Wall Street Journal article addresses reader comments regarding the uptick in the cash balances held by private equity firms. Below are samples of reader questions and corresponding WSJ responses: Are these companies keeping cash in the bank and then borrowing to fund acquisitions? A bit of both, says WSJ. Private-equity funds, it says, use “lots of debt, or leverage, on top of their equity when they buy a company. This boosts the returns… Read More