Value Creation in Middle-Market Buyouts: A Transaction-Level Analysis
42 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2009 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 2, 2009
Is private equity an effective governance structure, or simply a means of transferring wealth from "Main Street" to "Wall Street"? How do buyouts affect target-company organization and strategy? How do deal characteristics such as size, industry, transaction complexity, buyer characteristics, holding period, and the like affect the performance of private-equity transactions? Are revenue improvements driven primarily by changes in employment and capital expenditures, or by changes in organization and strategy? Despite a healthy literature on buyouts, little is known about the details of private equity transactions, as most studies rely on publicly available data or confidential data from a single buyout firm. This paper uses a unique sample of 288 exited transactions over a 20-year period across 19 industries from 13 buyout firm firms, based on confidential data from detailed interviews with the general partners of several leading private-equity partnerships. While prior studies have focused on whole-company, going-private buyouts, our sample includes transactions with minority stakes, syndicate deals, and consolidating roll-up or add-on strategies, and we have detailed information on internal rates of return, leverage, equity stakes, and other deal characteristics. We find that the pursuit of ancillary consolidating acquisitions is the biggest driver of post-buyout revenue and profit growth, that solo deals and deals with controlling stakes outperform syndicated or "club" deals, that rates of return have declined over time as buyout markets have become more competitive, that mitigation of agency costs is critical for deal success, and more generally, that private equity can improve the performance even of sound businesses by providing access to resources, industry-specific expertise, capital for recombining assets (most often, consolidation in a fragmented industry), or recapitalization and ownership transition. Finally, our findings suggest the potential for further research of private equity at the transaction level.
Keywords: private equity, leveraged buyout, internal rate of return, diversification, syndication, entrepreneurship
JEL Classification: G34, G32, L25, L26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation