Executive Director, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
We contend that the decision between public and private ownership can be understood in a cost-benefit framework where firms trade-off the governance benefits of private ownership with the potentially lower capital costs of public ownership. Consequently, ownership structure can be understood by examining the governance model that maximizes firm value. We discuss the conditions under which firms maximally benefit from private ownership, and argue that the “governance engineering” by private equity sponsors can ultimately explain the continued rise of private markets to the detriment of public markets.
Despite having the deepest and most diverse capital markets in the world, the United States still struggles to provide sufficient capital to many small businesses outside of major commercial centers as well as to women-owned and minority-owned businesses regardless of size or location. This paper reviews the academic literature and provides an analysis of some recent data to gain understanding of the causes of these gaps as well as the solutions for filling the gaps. Results indicate that the Small Business Administration’s SBIC program is an effective mechanism for providing capital to underserved geographies as well as to businesses owned by women and underrepresented minorities.
We examine the link between endowment investment performance and the expertise of university board members. Harnessing detailed information on 11,019 members for 579 universities, we find that expertise in alternatives and larger professional networks are associated with higher allocations to alternatives and better investment results.
Using a large database of U.S. equity position-level holdings for hedge funds, we measure the degree of securitylevel crowdedness. The crowdedness factor is related to downside “tail risk" as stocks with higher exposure to crowdedness experience relatively larger drawdowns during periods of market distress. This tail risk extends to hedge fund portfolio returns as the crowdedness factor explains why some funds experience relatively large drawdowns.
On October 14, 2016, the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School hosted a conference titled What’s Next, America. Convened fewer than four weeks prior to the presidential election, the objective of the forum was to allow influential business leaders, academics and policy makers to examine issues critical to the U.S. economy now and in the future. The conference offered actionable solutions to the most important economic issues facing the next administration.
Private equity performance, both for buyouts and venture capital, has been highly cyclical: periods of high fundraising have been followed by periods of low performance. Despite this seemingly predictable variation, we find modest gains, at best, to pursuing realistic, investable strategies that time capital commitments to private equity. This occurs, in part, because investors can only time their commitments to funds; they cannot time when commitments are called or when investments are exited. There is a high degree of time-series correlation in net cash flows even across commitment strategies that allocate capital in a very different manner over time.
This paper provides the first large-sample analysis of buyout and venture capital fund values over their lifetimes. Specifically, we examine interim fund investment multiples (TVPIs), internal rates of return (IRRs), and direct-alphas based on the current reported net asset values (NAVs) at each quarter of a fund’s life.
Using a novel dataset on global private equity investments in 19 industries across 52 countries, we find that labor productivity, employment, profitability, and capital expenditures increase for publicly-listed companies in the same country and industry as private equity investments. Our results show that positive externalities created by private equity firms are absorbed by other companies within the same industry.
The authors find that hedge funds during the 2008 financial crisis did not systematically benefit from opportunistic trading, which could have generated systemic risks in financial markets. Although some funds that used leverage actually performed worse than expected given ex ante risk-factor loadings, this result was most likely caused by meeting redemptions rather than by forced selling during the crisis.
The Small Business Investor Alliance surveyed the small business portfolios of Small Business Investment Companies to measure the impact the pandemic is having on their operations and employment. Small businesses are facing extreme cash flow concerns. Small businesses are already laying off a substantial number of employees and without a significant change in trajectory, layoffs are anticipated to increase tremendously. Data analysis provided by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.
Using a comprehensive and proprietary dataset on international private equity activity, we study the determinants of buyout investments across 61 countries and 19 industries over the period of 1990-2017. We find evidence that macroeconomic conditions, development of stock and credit markets, and the regulatory environment in a country are important drivers of international buyout capital flows.
This paper provides a first look at newly available data on the holdings of private equity (PE) funds. Because research has been hampered by the lack of comprehensive, high-quality data on portfolio companies, this new source offers the potential for a wide range of research.
The last 20 years have been a period of tremendous growth for the PE industry. From its roots in the 1970s and 80s in the buyout and venture capital spaces, private capital has expanded dramatically in both scope and scale. Funds have gotten larger, the investor pool has broadened and the largest players have transformed themselves into fully diversified alternative asset managers, with offerings across a wide range of geographies and asset classes.
Since 1965, average idiosyncratic risk (IR) has never been lower than in recent years. In contrast to the high IR in the late 1990s that has drawn considerable attention in the literature, average market-model IR is 44% lower in 2013-2017 than in 1996-2000. Macroeconomic variables help explain why IR is lower, but using only macroeconomic variables leads to large prediction errors compared to using only firm-level variables. As a result of the dramatic change in the number and composition of listed firms since the late 1990s, listed firms are larger and older. Larger and older firms have lower idiosyncratic risk. Models that use firm char-acteristics to predict firm-level idiosyncratic risk estimated over 1963-2012 can largely or completely ex-plain why IR is low over 2013-2017. The same changes that bring about historically low IR lead to unusu-ally high market-model R-squareds.
We propose and test a framework of private information acquisition and decision timing for asset allocators hiring outside investment managers. Using unique data on due diligence interactions between an institutional allocator and 860 hedge fund managers, we find that the production of private information complements public information. The allocator strategically chooses how much proprietary information to collect, reducing due diligence time by 18 months and improving outcomes. Selected funds outperform unselected funds by 9% over 20 months. The outperformance relates to the allocator learning about fund return-to-scale constraints and manager skill before other investors.
We propose a method for decomposing private fund portfolio performance into effects from timing, strategy selection, geographic focus, sizing of fund allocation, and fund selection attributes.
We apply advances in analysis of mix frequency and sparse data to estimate “unsmoothed” private equity (PE) Net Asset Values (NAVs) at the weekly frequency for individual funds. Using simulations and a large sample of buyout and venture funds, we show that our method yields superior estimates of fund asset values than a simple approach based on comparable public asset and as-reported NAVs.
We specify and estimate a time-varying Markov model of COVID-19 cases for the US in 2020. We find that the estimated level of undetected infections spiked in March and remained elevated through May. However, since late April estimated undetected infections have generally declined though it was not until June or July that detected cases exceeded the estimated number of undetected cases.
This paper evaluates the pros and cons of including private equity fund investments in defined contribution plans. Potential benefits include higher returns and improved diversification as well as a relatively safe method for accessing investments previously only available to institutions and the very wealthy. Despite these enticing benefits, they need to be weighed against potential challenges and costs that may arise from creating this broader access to private funds.