By the Private Equity Beat staff
We’re moving to a spiffy homepage at WSJ Pro Private Equity. Parting ways with our readers after nearly eight years—not even as long as some private equity hold periods—would be tragic, so we hope you will join us on our new adventure.
This blog, launched in January 2009, isn’t nearly as old as the typical end-of-life private equity fund. But in less than a decade, it’s followed private equity firms as they have gone public, former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s return to private equity, and pension funds’ fight (and failed bids) for more transparency from general partners.
As an experiment, we went cold turkey off of private equity-backed products for a week, highlighting the industry’s sway over the myriad of companies that supply our food, entertainment, and health needs. Need a paternity test? Private equity backed the company behind Maury Povich’s dramatic “you are the father” revelations. Want Scottie to beam up your latest X-ray? Private equity financed a medical imaging company with a center that is based on the blueprint of the Starship Enterprise. How about insurance for your giant panda? Private equity has you covered.
Besides capturing private equity’s flights of fancy, this blog has been a keen observer of the industry’s ascent to Hollywood (and its guilty fondness for Nicholas Sparks films). We also pondered the roots of carried interest (and whether it has biblical origins or was introduced by Christopher Columbus). When the industry faced controversy we were there, whether it was over their own behavior or the ethics of businesses or people they backed. One recent example is the fury directed against Weston Presidio-backed Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, because of its founder’s passion for big game hunting.
Even as we file our final post, a crop of funds are wrestling with a host of challenges, including investments long-past their expected realization periods, increased regulatory scrutiny and generational shifts in leadership. We’ve learned that GPs still have room to be more forthright, and internal rate of return doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot.
We hope not to miss a beat going forward, and you may still catch us from time to time on the MoneyBeat blog.
Thank you for your support all these years.
The editors and reporters of Private Equity Beat.