Secondary Buyout Performance
40 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 19, 2019
There is an ambivalent discussion about the performance of secondary buyouts (SBOs): Private equity (PE) sponsors often assume an underperformance of SBOs compared to primary buyouts (PBOs). However, the share of SBOs grew significantly to more than 50 percent of all buyouts in 2018. This paper contributes to solve this apparent contradiction. It analyses the performance of SBOs compared to PBOs based on a dataset of 295 UK portfolio companies which underwent back-to-back buyout rounds. The analysis of the total sample shows that SBOs perform worse or at least not better than PBOs. A more detailed analysis of subsamples reveals that SBOs may be attractive PE targets: The underperformance is driven by size and time effects. SBOs perform worse at growing small and medium-sized portfolio companies and are inferior at developing the profitability of medium-sized companies. Interestingly, the underperformance diminishes in the core of time; SBOs do not perform differently compared to PBOs for the time after the financial crises. Considering the limited supply of investment opportunities for PBOs, I find that well-chosen SBOs outperform the remaining, low performing PBOs. Therefore, SBOs are not means of last resort for PE firms. SBOs have a promising potential of value creation, which may partly explain the significant growth of SBO deals.
Keywords: Private Equity. Secondary Buyout, Performance, Investment Selection
JEL Classification: G11, G23, G24, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation