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The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity

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  • Alexander Ljungqvist
  • Matthew Richardson

Abstract

Using a unique dataset of private equity funds over the last two decades, this paper analyzes the cash flow, return, and risk characteristics of private equity. We document the draw down and capital return schedules for the typical private equity fund, and show that it takes several years for capital to be invested, and over ten years for capital to be returned to generate excess returns. We provide several determining factors for these schedules, including existing investment opportunities and competition amongst private equity funds. In terms of performance, we document that private equity generates excess returns on the order of five plus percent per annum relative to the aggregate public equity market. One interpretation of this magnitude is that it represents compensation for holding a 10-year illiquid investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9454.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9454

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  1. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 2000. "Money chasing deals? The impact of fund inflows on private equity valuation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 281-325, February.
  2. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1996. "The Use of Covenants: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Partnership Agreements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 463-98, October.
  3. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
  4. Tim Loughran & Jay Ritter, 2004. "Why Has IPO Underpricing Changed Over Time?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 33(3), Fall.
  5. John H. Cochrane, 2001. "The Risk and Return of Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 8066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Philippe Jorion & William N. Goetzmann, 1999. "Global Stock Markets in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 953-980, 06.
  7. William J. Wilhelm & Alexander Ljungqvist, 2002. "IPO Pricing in the Dot-com Bubble," OFRC Working Papers Series 2002fe07, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
  8. Gompers, Paul A., 1996. "Grandstanding in the venture capital industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 133-156, September.
  9. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
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