Private Equity in London - US MFs vs European Funds

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Hi guys! In a recent thread, a discussion regarding PEs in London came up that, imo, deserves its own thread.
How are the top European funds perceived in comparison to the US MFs that are regularly described as the pinnacle on this forum? While the top candidates still seem to go for the known US names (KKR, CG, BX...), top EU firms such as CVC, EQT are regularly outraising them when it comes to European-focused funds. E.g, the European funds of Bain, KKR and Carlyle are all around 5bn whereas CVC has raised north of 15 and a number of Europeans are targeting above 10bn right now. Are those differences less relevant given that the US firms might also use their flagship funds or why are they still perceived as superior?

Comments (19)

 
May 3, 2019 - 11:32am

Agree that the usual US megafunds (KKR, Apollo, TPG etc) carry more prestige and provide better exit opps to HF/other PE shops although the performance in Europe of some has been abysmal (Carlyle, TPG, Blackstone, WP, think also Apollo) over the last few years. The only possible exception is possibly KKR who are now raising a new €5B European flagship fund. CVC, EQT etc have performed far better but for some reason the junior people there seem to be of a slightly lower caliber than the MFs in my perception.

 
May 3, 2019 - 6:28pm

How difficult would it be to transfer internally at the US MFs, so going from London to New York?

Array
 
Most Helpful
May 4, 2019 - 8:26am

Just few clarifications on the above. Visa sponsorship may not be an issue if you have been with the firm for at least 1 year as you can transfer with a L-1 visa.
I think one main point that has been missed so far is that post promotion people do not want to change location. Generally you are 30ish+, engaged, sometimes with children, etc. and you do not really want to transfer your life from one continent to the other, so I am not sure it is an issue of demand / supply but it is probably related to the fact that generally people do not want to do it and therefore funds are generally not structured for this.

On the same topic, sometimes you have been covering companies on this side of the pond and you don't want / are not allowed to give them up before the exit but, by the time of the exit, you have another portfolio company or are engaged or have other family / personal reasons for which you do not want to make the move.

In terms of precedents, Hg Capital and Bridgepoint moved people from Europe to US when they opened the office in NY, Verlinvest moved people from London to Singapore to New York (they have Vita Coco there) in the past but it is generally rare and event driven.
I'd be interested to know whether PE that do secondments to PortCo (e.g. Apax) do this across Continent.

Finally, I'd echo the above. If anyone wants to make a move between continent, you should do it before starting in PE (i.e. either at banking level, but be mindful of the VISA issue as from Europe to US they transfer you with L-1 and you are not allowed to change job) or when moving out of banking (i.e. people recruited from US to Europe - not aware of other way round because of visa issues).

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.
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