The characteristics of private equity which distinguish it as an asset class are that every transaction involves a negotiation, that every investment is made with an explicit understanding that it will be exited within a defined time period and that the role of the investor in the governance of the investment is an activist one of getting involved in managerial decision making. The private equity market developed in phases starting in the seventies and now there are some 7000 firms operating globally. Care must be taken to distinguish the handful of mega firms from the rest.
Key learning objectives:
What do the three key features of the asset class mean?
The history of private equity
What kinds of firms do we distinguish?