LA PE Firms Rep / Culture - LGP, Ares, Platinum Equity, Marlin Equity

Hey everyone,

I saw an outdated thread on LA PE firms. I am mainly seeking to look feedback on the rep / culture / success for the following firms: LGP, Ares, Platinum Equity, Marlin Equity

Any information would be great - thanks.

Comments (84)

Most Helpful
May 13, 2020 - 4:10pm

I can comment on a few. LA overall is a growing PE market with more demand for jobs, given lifestyle and better culture and intersection of consumer tech and media.

LGP known to be to be solid investor, consumer retail focused but does the occasional TMT and industrials deal. small team, ok culture, pays above street, interview process is very investment thesis focused and will ask a lot of various business models and views on those. standard LBO test with CIM, expect to present to a room of 3-4 people including a partner usually. Expect a private company but larger size of the case. 90% on cycle with 1-2 spots maybe off cycle.

Marlin - top 10% returns across PE funds period. extremely diligent and disciplined about their investments. focused on software but does some tech services. AUM expected to grow quickly in the next year. interview process is standard but again tech centric. 1-3 rounds over the phone, in person superday that takes like 2/3 of a business day with abridged CIM, 3-statement LBO, and a series of interviews with partner VPs and senior associates. they go on cycle for 80% of spots with the remaining off cycle but no guarantees on timing. usually late in the year.

Ares - top tier firm, bad culture, bad hours, cutthroat promotion standards, good pay. difficult interview process and they go on cycle. if you can make it here, you can generally make it anywhere.

Apollo - same as Area. had 1 interview there. guy was a hardo. immediately didn't want to continue.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 14, 2020 - 12:01pm


Ares - top tier firm, bad culture, bad hours, cutthroat promotion standards, good pay. difficult interview process and they go on cycle. if you can make it here, you can generally make it anywhere.

Was this gathered from your own recruiting process? Just wondering if this was a few years ago or more recent as I have a peripheral friend that works there and had great things to say about the people he works with and the hours (when not on a live deal lol). He also echoed that the interview process was tough and pay was great.

  • Business School in PE - LBOs
May 14, 2020 - 3:13pm

Good post. Only thing LGP is a diversified investor not Consumer focused. Would say services focused more than anything (e.g. hc services -> chg healthcare, consumer services -> wrench group etc.) But do all kinds of deals.

  • 1
May 13, 2020 - 1:59pm

All are pretty top notch shops in terms of reputation. I think deciding between them depends more upon which types of deals you are interested in.

LGP does very well in the consumer goods / business services space. Ares and Platinum focus more on distressed deals / searching for bargains. Marlin focuses on software.

  • Business School in PE - LBOs
May 13, 2020 - 2:24pm

Echo above on Platinum. LGP seems like they're really nice people based on my interactions. Marlin also seems like a good culture - interviewed with them. They used to be value but have shifted more to growth. Ares is a bit of a black box to me but I know they pay above mkt. For me personally LGP would be the best gig in LA.

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 13, 2020 - 6:41pm

Do you know what the comp/progression is at Marlin? I've heard a lot of mixed things about their culture - do you have any second hand info?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 1, 2020 - 6:52pm

From a friend who works there, Ares actually has a very good culture and reasonable hours. Culture used to be hard-nosed, a lot of those senior guys have turned over and the next generation of partners are nice people and good to work with. Hours are typically LBO side they actually do a lot more growth investing / high quality assets and combine that with a distressed strategy (the same team works on both).

Comp is very competitive. I don't know about junior level, but VPs make $500-675K (from year 1 to 3/4) + carry.

Oct 1, 2020 - 9:19pm

The same team doing distressed is doing late stage growth? Any idea what their playbook typically looks like for the distressed side of things?

  • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 2, 2020 - 10:26am

Haha. I'm curious, do you mean the hours aren't actually that good or you don't really look at more growthy/high quality asset deals like the user above mentioned? 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Oct 2, 2020 - 1:44pm

Current Ares employee here. Above is spot on with regards to culture, investment style, and comp. Couple years ago the firm made a drastic change and got rid of some "bad apples" at the top and really tried to overhaul the experience, especially for the juniors (the difference is stark). Additionally, most people don't know this and assume Ares is a pure value oriented shop because of their strong credit roots and distressed capabilities, but on the buyouts side they are one of the "growthiest" shops out there (think LGP, EQT type stuff). Their traditional PE arm (ACOF) also flexes into distressed in counter cyclical environments and also now has a dedicated fund doing this as well (Special Opportunities Fund). On comp, poster is in line as well.

Nov 30, 2020 - 11:22am

Can you talk more about their growth equity capabilities. Is this separate from the Special Opportunities Fund, i.e. is the Special Opportunities Fund solely Distressed/Special Situations or do they have the ability to expand into other investment areas like growth?

In regards to culture, with the changes you mentioned, is Ares primarily a 2 and out program at the associate level or is there an opportunity to stay without an MBA and if so, how likely is that? Is it better to wait until the VP level before leaving the sell side?

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Oct 2, 2020 - 11:55am

I meant the hours. He/she is either at least a VP or not in my group because the analysts/associates work 70/80 a week regularly whether or not there's a live deal. There's just so much deal flow that it doesn't really matter if one is on a live deal or not. We're constantly underwriting, managing our existing portfolio, and doing other adhoc analyses. Fun work, but a lot of it and a low headcount.

Also, if your comp is right at the VP level, damn.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Oct 5, 2020 - 1:25pm

Not sure about Clearlake but their headhunter kept dangling the "they are looking to hire more consultants, 1 (she may have said 2, but think she said 1) of every class. 


You can check their team page to confirm.

  • Prospect in Research - Other
Dec 3, 2020 - 2:25am

Can't speak to distressed opportunities at Oaktree, but their Special Sits group is one of the best in the biz. 2 associate seats a class so near impossible to break in, but if you do, seems like people exit to the most exclusive hedge funds (canyon partners, Elliott, etc.)

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
Dec 2, 2020 - 6:49pm

Does anyone know how Ares comp progresses for the RE teams? Specifically analyst to associate to VP? Also are hours of 70-80 in-line for RE teams as well?

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