From my past blog posts, you should know that I am not a political blogger, but Mitt Romney’s background as a key player at posted on what the evidence in the aggregate says about investing.has made a hot topic this political season. In response to some of the news stories that I read on that revealed a misunderstanding of PE and a misreading of the data, I
Reviewing that post, I noted that PE fit neither side’s stereotype. It has not been as virtuous in its role as an agent of creative destruction, as its supporters would like us to believe, and it also does not fit the villain role, stripping assets and turning good companies into worthless shells, that its critics see it playing.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk onat Baruch College, based upon that blog post. That talk is now available online (in two parts) and you can get it by clicking below:
The session is a little long (with the two parts put together running over an hour and a half). So, feel free to fast forward through entire sections, if you so desire. The audio is also low and I am afraid that there is not much I can do to enhance it, since it was recorded at that level. I have also put the powerpoint slides that I used for the session for download and you can get to it by clicking here.
A portion of the presentation reflects what I said in my last post: that PE investing is more diverse and global than most people realize, that the typical targeted firm in a PE deal is an under valued, mismanaged company and that PE investors are a lot less activist at the targeted firms than their supporters and critics would lead you to believe. Here are a few of the other points I made during my talk (and feel free to contest them, if you are so inclined):
2. Who are these PE investors?
3. PE winners and PE losers
Thus, the top 10% of PE investors beat public investors by about 36% annually but the bottom 10% of PE investors underperform public investors by about 20% annually. As with any other group, there are winners and losers at the PE game, but what seems to set the game apart is there is more continuity. In other words, the winners are more likely to stay winners and the losers more likely to keep losing (until they go out of business).
4. Is PE a net social good or social bad?
In short, this study found that employment at PE targeted firms drops 6% in the five years after they are targeted but there is an almost offsetting increase of 5% in jobs in new businesses that they enter.
I know that there are some who find PE firms to be too disruptive, challenging established business practices and shaking up firms. Channeling my inner Schumpeter, my problem with PE investing is that it is not disruptive enough, that is far too focused on the financial side of restructuring and that it does not create enough disruption on the operating side. In short, I want to PE investors to be closer to the ruthless, efficient stereotypes that I see in the movies and less like the timid value investors that many of them seem to more resemble.