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Cyclicality, performance measurement, and cash flow liquidity in private equity

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  • Robinson, David T.
  • Sensoy, Berk A.

Abstract

We study the liquidity properties of private equity cash flows using data from 837 buyout and venture capital funds from 1984 to 2010. Most cash flow variation at a point in time is diversifiable — either idiosyncratic to a given fund or explained by the fund’s age. Both capital calls and distributions also have a procyclical systematic component. Distributions are more sensitive than calls, implying procyclical aggregate net cash flows. A consequence is that the well-known finding that funds raised in hot markets underperform in absolute terms is sharply attenuated when comparing to public equities. Consistent with a liquidity premium for calling capital in bad times, we find that funds with a relatively high propensity to do so perform better in both absolute and relative terms. Venture capital cash flows and performance are considerably more cyclical than buyout, and the links between cyclical cash flows and performance are likewise stronger.

Suggested Citation

  • Robinson, David T. & Sensoy, Berk A., 2016. "Cyclicality, performance measurement, and cash flow liquidity in private equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 521-543.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:122:y:2016:i:3:p:521-543
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.09.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon M. Phillips & Alexei Zhdanov, 2017. "Venture Capital Investments and Merger and Acquisition Activity Around the World," NBER Working Papers 24082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:jbfina:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:14-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jfinec:v:132:y:2019:i:3:p:158-181 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jfinec:v:129:y:2018:i:3:p:559-585 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:5:p:519-535 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:arp:tjssrr:2018:p:382-390 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:1049-:d:206767 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liquidity; Cash flows; Business cycles; Performance; Private equity; Venture capital;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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