Just-released whitepaper on the ‘anxious’ state of PE

BVWireIssue #88-3
January 20, 2010

2009 will likely go down in history books as one of the most difficult years for the private investment community. Deal volume has sunk to its lowest level in more than a decade. Fundraising totals are at their lowest level since 2003, and exit opportunities have become increasingly difficult to find…

So begins a new whitepaper, Private Equity in the Post-Boom Era: What Next, by Harris Smith (Grant Thornton, LLP) in conjunction with the Association for Corporate Growth. The article looks at recent changes to liquidity markets, interviews key industry experts, and analyzes data points from a number of sources (DeaLogic and Thomson Reuters), says the summary. “Through our external sources and original reporting, we discuss not only where fundraising and exit opportunities are today, but where they are heading.”

Stress levels remain high. “After investing more than $1 trillion in private equity funds in the past decade, many limited partners are now anxious about investing in the asset class,” the paper notes. “Driving much of the decrease in private equity commitments is the dramatic decrease in available funds due to losses across limited partners’ endowments and pension plan portfolios, and the need for liquidity to fund retirement and other benefits.” The anxiety may work better on the sell-side, in Grant Thornton’s view. “As the markets continue to show signs of improvement, sellers are going to jump at the chance to sell. Private equity funds and private businesses that missed their chance to sell at the height of the market have been anxiously awaiting the chance to exit their businesses.”

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