I am back to London with a pocket full of business cards. A highlight of my trip, somehow, was jogging by the start - and finish- of the '09 Berlin Marathon.
The private equity industry going through a structural change as fundraising in the worst post-peak trough the industry has known (fundraising levels at 40% of 2007/08 levels). There are still Big Dollars flowing in but now going to fewer managers, including Astorg, who receive bigger checks. "Bifurcated market" is a popular expression.
Meanwhile returns have fallen as plenty of capital competes for limited auctioned deals and leverage paired back : recall the famous KKR takeover of RJR Nabisco in '88 (at $25 billion, the largest ever at the time). The deal financed with 95% debt. Today, equity accounts for 43% of all buyout transactions. This doesn't help IRRs (but allows people to sleep at night).
Ours a mature industry which is obvious from the number of minorities (almost nil) and women (very few). Who is going against the grain to make the over-size returns? Who is allowed to do so by their institutional backers ?