Observations from the last 3 years in Private Equity Due Diligence

There has been a strange pattern in Private Equity deals over the past three years. In 2015, we undertook the Management Due Diligence on 13 transactions, which was a slightly quieter year for us. In 2016, we undertook the Due Diligence on 26 deals, a record year, then in 2017 it was back down to 17 deals, which is a more typical year for us. There is no doubt the appetite for Private Equity deals is there. But with prices rising, we are seeing more interest, but also more aborted deals. Private Equity Funds are under ever greater pressure to deploy funds and put money to work, yet the landscape is increasingly competitive, as one investor said to us: “I used to buy businesses, now I sell money.” We’ve also noticed firms becoming more flexible in terms of their investment parameters, for example investing in smaller businesses, or at an earlier stage, or tolerating greater risk.  It will be interesting to see how 2018 plays out, with the uncertainty of Brexit, and the potential changing of the political landscape. However, the industry seems to be in agreement on one thing: there will be more deals to be done.