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The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity

  • Alexander Ljungqvist
  • Matthew Richardson

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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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9454
Note: AP
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  1. Ljungqvist, Alexander P. & Wilhelm Jr, William J, 2002. "IPO Pricing in the dot-com Bubble," CEPR Discussion Papers 3314, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "The risk and return of venture capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 3-52, January.
  5. Tim Loughran & Jay Ritter, 2004. "Why Has IPO Underpricing Changed Over Time?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 33(3), Fall.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Gompers, Paul A., 1996. "Grandstanding in the venture capital industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 133-156, September.
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