NYU Stern

Private Equity

More insiders, more insider trading: Evidence from private-equity buyouts

acharyaPrior theoretical research has found that, in the absence of regulation, a greater number of insiders leads to more insider trading. Professor Acharya show that optimal regulation features detection and punishment policies that become stricter as the number of insiders increases, reducing insider trading in equilibrium. We construct measures of the likelihood of insider activity prior to bid announcements of private-equity buyouts during the period 2000–2006 and relate these to the number of financing participants. Suspicious stock and options activity is associated with more equity participants, while suspicious bond and CDS activity is associated with more debt participants - consistent with models of limited competition among insiders but inconsistent with our model of optimal regulation

Papers

“The Cash Flow, Return and Risk Characteristics of Private Equity,” Alexander Ljungqvist, Matthew Ricardson, Stern School of Business, 2003.

ABSTRACT (Click Here To Open)

Using a unique dataset of private equity funds over the last two decades, this paper analyzes the cash flow, return, and risk characteristics of private equity. Unlike previous studies, we have detailed cash flow data for each fund, rather than aggregate or accounting returns. We also know the exact timing of investments and capital returns to investors and the number and types of companies each fund invested in. We document the draw down and capital return schedules for the typical private equity fund, and show that it takes several years for capital to be invested, and over ten years for capital to be returned to generate excess returns. We provide several determining factors for these schedules, including existing investment opportunities and competition amongst private equity funds. In terms of performance, we document that private equity generates excess returns on the order of five to eight percent per annum relative to the aggregate public equity market. Moreover, while we estimate the betas of the private equity funds' portfolios to be greater than one, we show that on a risk-adjusted basis the excess value of the typical private equity fund is on the order of 24 percent relative to the present value of the invested capital. One interpretation of this magnitude is that it represents compensation for holding a 10-year illiquid investment.

“Corporate Governance and Value Creation: Evidence from Private Equity,” Viral Acharya, Gottschalg, Hahn, Kehoe, Review of Financial Studies, 2010.

ABSTRACT (Click Here To Open)

We examine deal-level data from 395 private equity transactions in Western Europe initiated by large private equity houses during the period 1991 to 2007. We un-lever the deal-level equity return and adjust for un-levered return to quoted peers to extract a measure of abnormal performance of the deal. The abnormal performance is significantly positive on average, and stays positive in periods with low sector returns. In the cross-section of deals, higher abnormal performance is related to greater growth in sales and greater improvement in EBITDA to sales ratio (margin) during the private phase, relative to those of quoted peers. Finally, we show that general partners with an operational background (ex-consultants or ex-industry-managers) generate significantly higher outperformance in organic deals that focus exclusively on internal value creation programs; in contrast, general partners with a background in finance (ex-bankers or ex-accountants) generate higher outperformance in deals with significant M&A events. We interpret these findings as evidence, on average, of positive, but heterogeneous skills at deal partner level in private equity transactions.

“More Insiders, More Insider Trading: Evidence from Private Equity Buyouts,” Viral Acharya, Timothy Johnson, Journal of Financial Economics, 2010.

ABSTRACT (Click Here To Open)

Prior theoretical research has found that, in the absence of regulation, a greater number of insiders leads to more insider trading. We show that optimal regulation features detection and punishment policies that become stricter as the number of insiders increases, reducing insider trading in equilibrium. We construct measures of the likelihood of insider activity prior to bid announcements of private-equity buyouts during the period 2000-2006 and relate these to the number of financing participants.Suspicious stock and options activity is associated with more equity participants, while suspicious bond and CDS activity is associated with more debt participants consistent with models of limited competition among insiders but inconsistent with our model of optimal regulation.