IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Investment Behavior of Buyout Funds: Theory and Evidence

  • Alexander Ljungqvist
  • Matthew Richardson
  • Daniel Wolfenzon

This paper analyzes the determinants of buyout funds' investment decisions. In a model in which the supply of capital is "sticky" in the short run, we link the timing of funds' investment decisions, their risk-taking behavior, and the returns they subsequently earn on their buyouts to changes in the demand for private equity, conditions in the credit market, and funds' ability to influence their perceived talent in the market. Using a proprietary dataset of 207 buyout funds that invested in 2,274 buyout targets over the last two decades, we then investigate the implications of the model. Our dataset contains precisely dated cash inflows and outflows in every portfolio company, links every buyout target to an identifiable buyout fund, and is free from reporting and survivor biases. Thus, we are able to characterize every buyout fund's precise investment choices. Our empirical findings are consistent with the model. First, established funds accelerate their investment flows and earn higher returns when investment opportunities improve, competition for deal flow eases, and credit market conditions loosen. Second, the investment behavior of first-time funds is less sensitive to market conditions. Third, younger funds invest in riskier buyouts, in an effort to establish a track record. Fourth, following periods of good performance, funds become more conservative, and this effect is stronger for younger funds.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14180.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14180
Note: CF
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Axelson, Ulf & Strömberg, Per & Weisbach, Michael S., 2007. "Why are Buyouts Levered? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Funds," SIFR Research Report Series 49, Institute for Financial Research.
  2. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," NBER Working Papers 7660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Ewens & Charles M. Jones & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(8), pages 1854-1889.
  4. Thomas Hellmann & Manju Puri, 2002. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-Up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 169-197, 02.
  5. Lerner, Josh & Schoar, Antoinette, 2004. "The illiquidity puzzle: theory and evidence from private equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 3-40, April.
  6. Lerner, Joshua, 1994. "Venture capitalists and the decision to go public," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 293-316, June.
  7. John H. Cochrane, 2001. "The Risk and Return of Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 8066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Palepu, Krishna G., 1990. "Consequences of leveraged buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 247-262, September.
  9. Steven N. Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2005. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence, and Capital Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1791-1823, 08.
  10. Gorman, Michael & Sahlman, William A., 1989. "What do venture capitalists do?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 231-248, July.
  11. Steven N. Kaplan & Jeremy C. Stein, 1991. "The Evolution of Buyout Pricing and Financial Structure," NBER Working Papers 3695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Inderst, Roman & Muller, Holger M., 2004. "The effect of capital market characteristics on the value of start-up firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 319-356, May.
  13. Yael V. Hochberg & Alexander Ljungqvist & Yang Lu, 2007. "Whom You Know Matters: Venture Capital Networks and Investment Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 251-301, 02.
  14. David H. Hsu, 2004. "What Do Entrepreneurs Pay for Venture Capital Affiliation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1805-1844, 08.
  15. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32.
  16. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32, January.
  17. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. " Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-89, December.
  18. 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.
  19. Alexander Ljungqvist & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity," NBER Working Papers 9454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Kaplan, Steven N & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993. "The Evolution of Buyout Pricing and Financial Structure in the 1980s," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 313-57, May.
  21. Sahlman, William A., 1990. "The structure and governance of venture-capital organizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 473-521, October.
  22. Quigley, John M. & Woodward, Susan E., 2003. "An Index for Venture Capital," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt15g2h7g9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14180. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.