The Principles of Private Equity: Ownership and Acquisitions Defended on Wednesday, 25 November 2020

This dissertation analyzes a key development in the private equity market. An increasing number of buyouts now include subsequent follow-on acquisitions by the private equity-owned portfolio companies, accounting for up to half of the private equity deal market. Yet, we know very little about how the private equity ownership structure matters for acquisition activities and performance.

On the one hand we may expect that the private equity ownership model is better equipped to handle acquisitions due to for example better aligned incentives. On the other hand, acquisitions are frequently associated with the inability to deliver the expected synergies and especially serial acquisitions have been related to agency problems. This dissertation therefore aims to answer several questions related to this topic. Which initial conditions may motivate private equity firms to pursue these serial acquisition strategies? Are buy-and-build strategies a form of "window-dressing" for private equity firms, perhaps a tool to deploy more capital? Which distinguishing characteristics of the private equity ownership can explain their acquisition performance?

Overall, the findings in this dissertation provide a positive view on private equity and show that private equity ownership is related to elevated acquisition activities and enhanced post-acquisition operating performance, which can partially be explained by their experience in acquisitions.

The principles of private equity revolve around its unique ownership structure and completing acquisitions. Also in the new era of the private equity market in which follow-on acquisitions are becoming more prevalent, these core attributes justify their rightful role as deal makers in the real world.


Private Equity, Acquisitions, Leveraged Buyouts, Ownership, Knowledge, Operating Performance, Real Options

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