From the Editors
This issue of the Private Equity Report comes during a time of reflection—not merely due to the events of this turbulent year, but because it marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the publication. To celebrate the occasion, six Debevoise partners who have shaped the Report over the past two decades—including founding editor Franci Blassberg—gathered for an Editors’ Roundtable discussion on private equity’s past, present and future. We’ve included the takeaways from that discussion, which can be found below under our 20th Anniversary Spotlight Section.
The range of features and articles in our anniversary issue reflect how evolved, complex and ubiquitous private equity has become within the world’s economy:
- The Private Equity Report at 20: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going
To celebrate our twentieth anniversary, private equity leaders and editors of the Debevoise Private Equity Report came together for a virtual roundtable to discuss where the industry has been and where it is going. We invite you to watch the conversation here.
- Progressing from Goal to Reality on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Like organizations in other sectors, private equity firms are critically reassessing their cultures and the systemic impediments for underrepresented groups. This Fall, Debevoise hosted a virtual gathering in which private equity senior legal leaders shared strategies for making the industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
- Thinking Through the Tax-Blocker End Game
The increased participation of both U.S. tax-exempt organizations and non-U.S. investors in private equity fundraising has led to the widespread use of blocker corporations to mitigate possible U.S. federal income tax obligations. However, blockers introduce a new set of strategic questions when it comes time to exit investments.
- SPAC Attack: A Re-Emergence to the M&A Market Gains Momentum
Special purpose acquisition companies have grown in both number and size this year, making them an increasingly visible player in the M&A market. Traditional private equity firms should keep in mind how SPACs are evolving their structures to be stronger competitors for investor capital.
- Navigating the Nuances of Continuation Funds
Continuation funds can give sponsors the best of both worlds: the liquidity of an exit while retaining control and future upside. But to deliver on their promise, these complex arrangements require a clearly articulated rationale, a detailed strategy and careful management.
- Hasta Mañana: What Will Tomorrow Bring for Latin American Private Equity?
The pandemic, currency depreciation and risk aversion by foreign investors have delivered a triple whammy to private equity in Latin America. Despite the current turbulence, some experienced investors are encouraged by investor-friendly reforms and see opportunity in low valuations and favorable exchange rates.
- Exit Trends in Asia
The pandemic, regulatory changes and geopolitical developments have all contributed to shifting deal trends in Asian markets this year. IPO listings on local exchanges have gained in popularity; going private transactions of U.S.-listed Chinese companies have helped bolster the number of M&A deals getting done in an otherwise slowing M&A market; and Asian sponsors have increasingly used continuation funds as a third-track exit option.
- ESG Becomes Part of the EU Investment Equation
The European Union’s new ESG Regulatory Framework, set to come into effect starting in March 2021, entails a substantial change in operations for funds managed or marketed in the European Union. In addition to the immediate issue of disclosure compliance, fund managers need to prepare for ESG factors to be more deeply integrated into investment decisions and investor queries.
We hope that you find this issue of the Private Equity Report to be a thought provoking look at both the evolution of private equity over the last two decades and at some of the important issues and trends shaping it today.
About the Debevoise Private Equity Group
A trusted partner and legal advisor to a majority of the world’s largest private equity firms, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has been a market leader in the Private Equity industry for over 40 years. The firm’s Private Equity Group brings together the diverse skills and capabilities of more than 300 lawyers around the world from a multitude of practice areas, working together to advise our clients across the entire private equity life cycle. The Group’s strong track record, leading-edge insights, deep bench and commitment to unified, agile teams are why, year after year, clients quoted in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and PEI cite Debevoise for our close-knit partnership, breadth of resources and relentless focus on results.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.