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They have entirely different strategies. TB is more focused on the buy and build audax like strategy and Vista is now operationally focused with their interval VCG team. This isn't too say that Vista doesn't do add-on acquisitions or TB doesn't enhance portcos operations, but Vista isn't going to bank of M&A being the driver of returns and TB isn't going bet that operational enhancements are going to drive returns.

Due to this, the associate experience at each firm will be different. Also, Vista's heralded low loss ratio is a facade. They have yet to sell some bad assets and just keep moving them from fund to fund. Look up Solera for example. They've done everything possible to cover up this loss. They've combined it with portcos, moved it from fund to fund, and even tried a SPAC to exit. The founder of the firm has even sued Vista. They're coming up in 8 years of holding the asset now, so not sure what is going to happen with that. One could also say that maintaining the idea that they've "never loss money on a majority buyout" causes them to be much more conservative with their investment choices than TB. It is my view that TB is more likely to take on riskier and hairyer investment opportunities, while Vista is less value focused might instead pay a premium for a more quality asset. Vista is batting for base hits (2-3x MOIC), while TB is typically swinging for the fences (4-5x MOIC)


This doesn’t have to do with returns at all but it seems like from a culture / comp perspective Vista is far better than TB. If you’re thinking about building a career at either of these places Vista would be the place to do it without burning out while also being at the very top of the street for pay


Thanks this is really helpful. Any idea of what comp looks like between the two?


Believe there was a very recent thread on this -- not sure of exact numbers but Vista certainly pays higher than TB (and probably most other MF PE firms, with the exceptions of like APO) because they give out additional bonuses on top of regular base and bonus


Can't speak on comp, but at least lifestyle-wise Vista is substantially better. The people I know at Thoma are regularly staying in till 3 and there isn't as much of a WFH culture there as well. From what I've heard at Vista, everyone is usually out of the office by 5 and WFH is really big there. 


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