What Do Private Equity Firms Say They Do?

72 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2014 Last revised: 10 May 2017

See all articles by Paul A. Gompers

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Steven N. Kaplan

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Vladimir Mukharlyamov

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2016

Abstract

We survey 79 private equity (PE) investors with combined assets under management of more than $750 billion about their practices in firm valuation, capital structure, governance, and value creation. Investors rely primarily on internal rates of return and multiples to evaluate investments. Their limited partners focus more on absolute performance as opposed to risk-adjusted returns. Capital structure choice is based equally on optimal trade-off and market timing considerations. PE investors anticipate adding value to portfolio companies, with a greater focus on increasing growth than on reducing costs. We also explore how the actions that PE managers say they take group into specific firm strategies and how those strategies are related to firm founder characteristics.

Keywords: private equity, valuation, capital structure, value creation

JEL Classification: G11, G24, G30, G31, G32, G34

Suggested Citation

Gompers, Paul A. and Kaplan, Steven Neil and Mukharlyamov, Vladimir, What Do Private Equity Firms Say They Do? (June 1, 2016). Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Vol. 121, No. 3, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2447605

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6297 (Phone)
617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Steven Neil Kaplan (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-4513 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vladimir Mukharlyamov

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

HOME PAGE: http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/vm462/

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