The economics of the private equity market
The private equity market is an important source of funds for start-ups, private middle-market companies, firms in financial distress, and public firms seeking buyout financing. Over the past fifteen years, it has been the fastest growing corporate finance market, far surpassing the public equity and public and private bond markets. In this article, Stephen Prowse examines the economic foundations of the private equity market and describes its institutional structure. He also explores reasons for the market's explosive growth and highlights the main characteristics of that growth, including data on returns to private equity investors. He describes the important investors, intermediaries, and issuers in the market and their interactions with each other. In particular, he investigates how the major intermediary in the market--the limited partnership--addresses the severe information problems associated with investing in small private firms.
Volume (Year): (1998)
Issue (Month): Q III ()
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