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PE’s buy and build strategies achieve significant improvements in sales and profit, says study

The study provides rare vindication for the private equity industry which has faced repeated questions about its returns in recent years

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Private equity firms improve the operating performance of the companies they buy according to a new study that challenges critics who claim fund returns are largely due to financial engineering.

The authors analysed more than 800 European cases where private equity firms have made an initial acquisition and then built on it with further add-on deals. The firms increased return on sales of the enlarged group by 27% over the first five years (or exit if earlier) compared with what would have been expected for the individual businesses, according to the researchers from Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

The study provides rare vindication for the private equity industry which has faced repeated questions about its returns in recent years. Different academic studies have found that despite their high fees over the past decade, private equity funds have failed to beat the stock market.

In the early years of the private equity industry, firms made fat returns by acquiring individual businesses using high levels of debt and then selling them on. But as competition for deals has increased, making good returns harder to generate, firms have increasingly turned to “buy and build” strategies. Now accounting for roughly half all private equity deals, according to consultants Bain & Co, these strategies are more like the approach taken by corporate or “strategic” purchasers.

Some critics, such as Ludovic Phalippou, a professor at Oxford University’s Said Business School, have suggested that “PE firms use these transactions to dress their track records, raise more capital, or justify spending already committed capital, without operational improvement”, the authors say.

But the Erasmus researchers’ analysis of deals in seven European countries, including the UK, since 1997 found that buy and build strategies achieved significant improvements in sales and profits due to operating synergies.

A typical example cited by the study involved Activa Capital, a French private equity firm, which bought a provider of photographic services, then added a manufacturer of invitations to marriage and birth celebrations, and an online family planning service. The researchers compared the combined group’s subsequent performance with that of rival businesses in each of the separate markets to assess the improvement the private equity firm’s strategy had achieved. “This result supports the positive view that PE funds are acting similarly to strategic buyers that aim to realise operating synergies,” the authors say.

The study found that the average holding period for “buy and build” strategies was more than five years, significantly longer than has been typical for traditional leveraged buyouts.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email David Wighton

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/pes-buy-and-build-strategies-achieve-significant-improvements-in-sales-and-profit-says-study-20200827

Private Equity

Bin ‘Dear Sirs’ in legal letters, litigation partner says

‘Dear colleagues’ or ‘Dear [Name of firm]’ are better ways of greeting other lawyers, says Hausfeld’s Craig

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A senior litigation partner has called for an end to the “outmoded” use of “Dear Sirs” as a form of address in legal letters.

Lianne Craig, head of commercial disputes at litigation firm Hausfeld, said the term “feels increasingly outmoded and incorrect,” in a post on Linkedin.

Craig said it was a “source of constant consternation that emails and letters from the other side on one of my matters are repeatedly addressed as ‘Dear Sirs’ when it is obvious that we are fielding an all-female team and that it might be polite to address us in some other (more appropriate) way”.

She said Hausfeld had decided to address opposing parties as “‘Dear [Name of firm]’” but said she had also seen “‘Dear Colleagues’ which is also Ok”.

“I’m not sure why firms that tout themselves as being progressive still use the old form: it feels increasingly outmoded and incorrect,” Craig wrote.

Hausfeld is not the first law firm to ban the phrase Dear Sirs. Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer scrapped the use of the term in 2016 – replacing it with “Dear Sir or Madam” in the UK and “Dear Ladies and Gentlemen” in the US.

Earlier this year US litigation firm Quinn Emanuel told staff they should use “Dear Colleagues” or “Dear Counsel” in correspondence with opposing parties.

Craig told Financial News, Private Equity News‘ sister publication, that Hausfeld updated its style of greeting in early 2020.

“The workforce is much more diverse than it was when ‘Dear Sirs’ developed as a customary form of address and society has moved on,” Craig wrote in an email. “We must also take into account a wider range of gender identities than male/female.

“It’s good to talk about the issue because it’s easy to allow inertia to prevent progress,” she added. “In my experience, most people do not object to updating the customary form once it’s pointed out to them that it’s no longer relevant.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/litigation-partner-calls-for-end-use-of-dear-sirs-in-legal-letters-20201127

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Private Equity

EU negotiator en route to London for Friday evening Brexit talks

The UK’s transition period is set to end on 31 December, leaving just five weeks for a deal to be agreed

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The EU’s team of negotiators tasked with finding a post-Brexit trade deal are on their way to London, ahead of another week of crunch talks with the UK.

Having been in self-isolation for two weeks in Brussels after one member of the team tested positive for coronavirus, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in a tweet that the group will be travelling to London later on 27 November for more talks.

He added that he will be briefing members of the European Parliament and representatives from member states before the expedition, giving an update that the “same significant divergences persist” between the two sides.

Sticking points in the deal talks thus far have included fishing rights, a level-playing field, governance of the agreement and the question of border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“In line with Belgian rules, my team and I are no longer in quarantine. Physical negotiations can continue,” he said.

President-elect Joe Biden waded into the debate on the Irish protocol earlier this week, telling reporters that the US does not want to see a “guarded border” between the two countries.

He said he had been speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and officials in France and elsewhere to lend support to a deal on the matter.

Johnson was also expected to have a call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen this week to give an update on the teams’ progress.

Investment bank JPMorgan raised its assessment of the talks to 80% in favour of a deal being agreed ahead of the talks on 24 November, on reports of stronger signs of the two sides reaching a consensus.

The UK’s transition period is set to end on 31 December, leaving just five weeks for a deal to be agreed.

JPMorgan analyst Malcolm Barr said that the EU and UK may now be working on flexible arrangements so that a provisional version of a deal could be in place by 1 January, with EU parliament members to vote on that agreement on 28 December.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/eu-negotiator-en-route-to-london-for-friday-evening-brexit-talks-20201127

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Private Equity

VC firms help B2B software-as-a-service specialist Paddle to $68m Series C round

Paddle, a B2B software-as-a-service platform, has closed its Series C round on $68m to continue its growth momentum.

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Paddle, a B2B software-as-a-service platform, has closed its Series C round on $68m to continue its growth momentum.

The investment was supported by FTV Capital, Kindred Capital, Notion Capital and 83 North.

Paddle offers an all-in-one revenue delivery platform that supports acquisition, renewals, and expansion of companies.

Services available include managed payments, checkout, compliance, data management and more.

Its revenue delivery platform is designed to remove friction for B2B SaaS companies, empowering them to increase their net dollar retention by responding faster to growth opportunities.

Over the past four years, the company has seen an average annual revenue growth of more than 175%. It has doubled in the last year alone, it claims.

In a blog post from Paddle CEO Christian Owens said, “We created Paddle because we’ve seen first-hand the things that limit the growth of a SaaS company often have very little to do with the quality of your product.

“Dealing with payments, managing subscriptions, localizing checkouts in multiple languages, and handling tax and compliance across dozens of markets is hugely complex and each of these challenges makes it harder for businesses to scale quickly.”

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

Source: https://www.altassets.net/private-equity-news/by-news-type/deal-news/vc-firms-help-b2b-software-as-a-service-specialist-paddle-to-68m-series-c-round.html

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