What is a private equity firm?

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Private equity firms take companies the private capital they obtained from investors or their capital to improve their operations and then take them public and sell them for a profit. Venture capital and leveraged buyouts are the two most common ways private equity firms engage in such a private equity transaction.

Venture capital is a type of equity investment used to fund the acquisition of new, less-established businesses that are on the edge of becoming profitable. A leveraged buyout is frequently utilized to acquire major companies with significant assets that are nearing the end of their business cycle; to provide the majority of the capital, the leveraged buyout transaction is frequently completed by collateralizing the company’s assets with bonds or loans.

Active or passive interactions exist between private equity firms and the companies they or their clients invest in. Active investors are individuals who wish to participate in a company’s management board or operation to increase its profitability. Passive investors are uninvolved in its operations and provide capital for the company to use as it deems necessary.

The ease of access to alternative forms of capital for innovators and firm founders is one of the benefits of private equity. So is the elimination of quarterly performance constraints. The idea that market forces don’t determine private equity valuations undermines these benefits.

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Pieter Borremans
By Pieter Borremans

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