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Giants at the Gate: On the Cross-Section of Private Equity Investment Returns

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  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes

    (University of Amsterdam, EDHEC Business School, NBER)

  • Ludovic Phalippou

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Oliver Gottschalg

    (HEC Paris)

Abstract

We examine the determinants of private equity returns using a newly constructed database of 7,500investments worldwide over forty years. The median investment IRR (PME) is 21% (1.3), gross offees. One in ten investments goes bankrupt, whereas one in four has an IRR above 50%. Only one ineight investments is held for less than 2 years, but such investments have the highest returns. Thescale of private equity firms is a significant driver of returns: investments held at times of a highnumber of simultaneous investments underperform substantially. The median IRR is 36% in thelowest scale decile and 16% in the highest. Results survive robustness tests. Diseconomies of scaleare linked to firm structure: independent firms, less hierarchical firms, and those with managers ofsimilar professional backgrounds exhibit smaller diseconomies of scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Ludovic Phalippou & Oliver Gottschalg, 2011. "Giants at the Gate: On the Cross-Section of Private Equity Investment Returns," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-035/2/DSF12, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20110035
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Metrick & Ayako Yasuda, 2011. "Venture Capital and Other Private Equity: a Survey," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 17(4), pages 619-654, September.
    2. Andrew Ang & Dimitris Papanikolaou & Mark M. Westerfield, 2014. "Portfolio Choice with Illiquid Assets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(11), pages 2737-2761, November.
    3. Cumming, Douglas & Dai, Na, 2011. "Fund size, limited attention and valuation of venture capital backed firms," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 2-15, January.
    4. Brahm, Francisco & Tarziján, Jorge, 2012. "The impact of complexity and managerial diseconomies on hierarchical governance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 586-599.
    5. Agarwal, Vikas & Nada, Vikram & Ray, Sugata, 2013. "Institutional investment and intermediation in the hedge fund industry," CFR Working Papers 13-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    6. Nadine Gatzert & Thomas Kosub, 2014. "Insurers’ Investment in Infrastructure: Overview and Treatment under Solvency II," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 39(2), pages 351-372, April.
    7. Da Rin, M. & Phalippou, L., 2014. "There is Something Special About Large Investors : Evidence From a Survey of Private Equity Limited Partners," Other publications TiSEM a17d223b-9bb6-4bfd-9abb-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Charles E. Eesley & Robert N. Eberhart & Bradley R. Skousen & Joseph L. C. Cheng, 2018. "Institutions and Entrepreneurial Activity: The Interactive Influence of Misaligned Formal and Informal Institutions," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(2), pages 393-407, June.
    9. Achleitner, Ann-Kristin & Braun, Reiner & Engel, Nico, 2011. "Value creation and pricing in buyouts: Empirical evidence from Europe and North America," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 146-161.
    10. Ann†Kristin Achleitner & Christian Figge, 2014. "Private Equity Lemons?Evidence on Value Creation in Secondary Buyouts," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 20(2), pages 406-433, March.
    11. Giot, Pierre & Hege, Ulrich & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2014. "Are novice private equity funds risk-takers? Evidence from a comparison with established funds," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 55-71.
    12. Valkama, Petri & Maula, Markku & Nikoskelainen, Erkki & Wright, Mike, 2013. "Drivers of holding period firm-level returns in private equity-backed buyouts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2378-2391.
    13. Lily Fang & Victoria Ivashina & Josh Lerner, 2013. "Combining Banking with Private Equity Investing," NBER Working Papers 19300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    private equity; diseconomies of scale;

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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