Private Equity

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DEFINITION of 'Private Equity'

Equity capital that is not quoted on a public exchange. Private equity consists of investors and funds that make investments directly into private companies or conduct buyouts of public companies that result in a delisting of public equity. Capital for private equity is raised from retail and institutional investors, and can be used to fund new technologies, expand working capital within an owned company, make acquisitions, or to strengthen a balance sheet.

The majority of private equity consists of institutional investors and accredited investors who can commit large sums of money for long periods of time. Private equity investments often demand long holding periods to allow for a turnaround of a distressed company or a liquidity event such as an IPO or sale to a public company.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Private Equity'

The size of the private equity market has grown steadily since the 1970s. Private equity firms will sometimes pool funds together to take very large public companies private. Many private equity firms conduct what are known as leveraged buyouts (LBOs), where large amounts of debt are issued to fund a large purchase. Private equity firms will then try to improve the financial results and prospects of the company in the hope of reselling the company to another firm or cashing out via an IPO.

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  4. I want a career in private equity. How can I get started?

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  5. How does the risk profile of private equity investments compare to those of other ...

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  6. What are some of the more reputable private equity firms?

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  7. Why are private equity investments usually reserved for rich people?

    Private equity is an attractive investment option for high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors because of its ... Read Full Answer >>
  8. What is a debt/equity swap?

    Occasionally, a company will need to undergo some financial restructuring to better position itself for long term success. ... Read Full Answer >>
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