Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm reminded of this recent post on naked capitalism:

naked capitalism: Private Equity Firms Expected to Show 20-30% Losses for 2008

OK, you gotta help me. Private equity is basically levered equity. Yes, the claim to add value in various ways, but many academic studies question that theory. The big source of profits is leverage and financial engineering. Neither of those approaches were spectacularly successful in any sector I can think of in 2008.

In addition, many PE firms have companies in their portfolio that are in a world of hurt right now, due to a combination of fundamentals that fell off a cliff, high debt loads, and in many cases, debt maturing in the next year or so.

So how can PE companies (on average) possibly report returns that are better than equity averages last year? It strains credulity. Leverage cuts both ways, and it most certainly would not, in most cases, have done PE owned firms much good last year.

And making the expected mere 20-30% losses (versus public market declines of more like 40%) comes when PE firms are held to more rigorous standards in valuing their holdings. That alone should have a return-depressing effect.

To its credit, the Financial Times article does say the losses could be considerably worse than the rumored level.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jan 7th, 2009 at 04:22:25 PM EST

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