Search Funds: an asset class that relies on small-scale human interaction

Search Funds are a niche asset class based on high-potential entrepreneurs who locate, acquire, manage, and grow a privately held company. The investment vehicle is managed by an entrepreneur, called “the searcher”, who collects funds to finance the search and the acquisition of a single company, where they will have the opportunity to become equity-owning … Continue reading Search Funds: an asset class that relies on small-scale human interaction

Operational improvements: Are Private Equity funds building better companies?

7 min read By Matteo Ferraguto and Markus Maier Private Equity funds have made a name for themselves in the world of finance for consistently producing high returns, often outperforming benchmarks such as public markets. But how has this been achieved? Over the years, many measures such as certain financial engineering techniques, cost cutting strategies, … Continue reading Operational improvements: Are Private Equity funds building better companies?

Overview of the Leveraged Finance business

By Konstantin Barakos Introduction What is Leveraged Finance? It’s actually fairly straightforward – the answer is right there in the name! Leveraged finance describes a corporate acquisition financed through leverage. End of story; roll credits. Ok, since I brought up the term credits, I should mention that Leveraged Finance participants (i.e. issuers and investors) have … Continue reading Overview of the Leveraged Finance business

Reverse Merger – A true alternative to an IPO?

By Nikolas Huber and Luca Politi Introduction Almost everyone, even when only distantly connected to the topic of shares and stock, has heard about IPOs. Summarized an IPO is a process for a private company to become a public one. But not every private company that wants to become a public company fulfils the requirements … Continue reading Reverse Merger – A true alternative to an IPO?

Bridge Loans in Private Equity

By Boris Mihaylov and Konstantin Barakos The world of private equity requires funds to react immediately to potential purchase opportunities. But what if an attractive opportunity arises during the draw down period and the funds required exceed the sum of collected commitments? Bridge loans (appropriately labeled yet also known as equity bridge facilities or subscription … Continue reading Bridge Loans in Private Equity

Club Deals – Ancient construct or comeback story?

By Nikolas Huber and Filippo Rosaschino Levels of dry powder within private equity have skyrocketed in recent years as a result of an increasingly saturated market for suitable investment opportunities. Private equity funds are now searching for new methods and structures to invest their large capital stockpiles. But what if a very pragmatic solution has … Continue reading Club Deals – Ancient construct or comeback story?

Windfalls, Pitfalls and Angels

By Gianluca Sonda Introduction Angel investing is a micro-finance practice which involves affluent individuals providing capital for business start-ups typically in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. The term “angel” was actually coined during the 70s describing the investors who financed the Broadway shows and other theatre productions back in the day. Angel investors … Continue reading Windfalls, Pitfalls and Angels

Search Funds: Entrepreneurship through Acquisition

Back in the '80s, some ambitious entrepreneurs designed a miniature model of the typical private equity fund. Forget about pools of cream-of-the-crop professionals: search funds are a businessperson’s stepping stones to achieving their pipe dream position as a CEO. Although it sounds like a solo trip to success, these operating managers are backed by capital from a group of advising investors.

SBOs: Not Your Typical Second-Hand Shopping

“Everyone has access to information. We just know how to analyze it better.” This is the mantra of Billions protagonist Bobby Axelrod, a fictional hedge fund manager who’s ethically compromised fund breeds alpha like a wolf pack. Putting aside any insider trading and market manipulation though, is this also the mentality of the PE funds that acquire current portfolio companies from other PE funds?

Best Practices of PE and VC Internal Decision Making

With reputations and capital at stake, Private Equity and Venture Capital firms endeavor to make the best possible investment decisions. However, complete information is often impossible to obtain or takes too long to acquire resulting in opportunity costs from deferring investment. Given these structural challenges, how can decision making processes be structured to optimize outcomes?

Fee Structures in Private Equity

Investors allocate capital with Private Equity Firms in order generate a high rate of return on their invested capital. However, when there are several investors and a separate manager, how much of the profits from investments are investors entitled to? PE firms address this issue by constructing unique and specific payout schemes, called distribution waterfalls, to attract and signal to various types of investors and to accumulate committed capital to enter investments. This article outlines the fee structuring of PE firms and explores the types of distribution waterfalls.

Pension Funds, Intermediaries and Private Equity

In the early 1980s there was a dramatic increase in private equity activity in the US when pension funds began to invest heavily in them following the clarification of the “prudent man” rule, declaring private equity a sufficiently safe investment. When the 90s tech frenzy came along, pension funds needed the extraordinary returns offered by VC firms to keep pension plans solvent as baby-boomers aged. However, due to structural problems, pension funds were fundamentally unattractive to VC firms as LPs, so they were going to need help to break in.

Dimensions of Portfolio Diversification in PE

No period in history better demonstrates the need for portfolio diversification than the late 90s Tech Bubble and the March 2000 crash. In the public markets and at the height of the bubble, speculators were in such a frenzy to get a hold of technology stocks that any newly listed stock with the word “tech” or “.com” in their name could shoot up over 100% in one day. Many of these companies had yet to properly develop their products and their financial health was often very uncertain, yet they commanded prices at very high price to earnings multiples. In private markets there was also a strong appetite among VC firms to invest in the technology sector and bring the burgeoning amount of tech startups to public markets in IPO exits.

A Quick Look Over The Share Purchase Agreement

he aim of this article is to briefly describe a principal transaction document for a Private Equity deal: the Sale and Purchase Contract. This is an extremely complex topic to which many articles would be needed to give a full understanding to the reader so rather the intention is to provide a brief introduction to an aspect which is irregularly discussed.

Value Creation

Financial sponsors tend to create value in LBO transactions in three different ways: Operational improvements, Debt and Multiple Expansion. The first two forms assume improvements of the target financial and operational performance. The last value creation option refers to the sponsor features instead of the target. Indeed, it does not modify the financial and operational performance of the target and comes from sponsors’ broader knowledge and expertise. The literature tends to focus on the first to ways since future valuations are too uncertain. Indeed, even sponsors' financial models tend to concentrate on value enhancement coming from developments in the target operations and a better capital structure.

The Growth of Shadow Capital in the PE industry

Starting from last year, capital allocation schemes that are hybrids of direct investment and limited partnership, namely “Shadow Capital”, have become increasingly appealing among participants of the Private Equity industry. This way of investing allows the Limited Partners to employ their resources benefiting from the expertise and experience of PE funds and to gain a direct foothold in the private firms’ capital. Most notably, Shadow Capital accounted for 25.6% of total capital committed in PE investments in 2015, surging from the 17.5% average it accounted for in the period 2009-2014 (see table below).