PE Value Drivers Series: An Interview with a Private Equity Operating Partner Experienced in Value Creation
Oct 30, 2018 2:22:11 PM — Key top line growth themes include digital marketing, sales/marketing alignment and talent acquisition. This month, I had the opportunity to attend my second Private Equity International’s Operating Partner Forum in New York City. It is the largest gathering in the US of Operating Partners who come together to share learnings and discuss PE portfolio operational assessment and value addition. With acknowledgement that there is upwards of $1 Trillion in uninvested capital making deals more competitive, prices are higher and great outcomes will be more heavily reliant on top line revenue momentum. Discussion this year focused on the need to continue to drive operational excellence with a cost cutting focus AND be innovative in driving top line revenue. The 2017 forum panels were more focused on the opportunities to leverage go to market plans by investing in sales and sales productivity with discussions about helping portfolio companies with playbooks to accelerate top line revenue growth. Many panelists continue to acknowledge that their first hires were VP Sales leaders.
Oct 30, 2018 1:56:28 PM — Operating Partners have a tough job! Many firms are still trying to figure out their Operating Partner strategy They don’t always have input into the deal parameters yet are called-upon to see that the Value Creation Plan fulfill the investment thesis They don’t always have a full seat at the table with the deal partners and may not reap the same type of rewards They are often in the position of working with management teams who are skeptical of their input and not always quick to accept help They are often spread thin across multiple portfolio companies with limited resources These dynamics were on full display at two events I attended recently – The PEI Operating Partners Forum and ACG’s M&A East. While Operating Partners were in abundance at the first event, the second was dominated by deal professionals and board advisors. Surprisingly, much of the messaging was very similar.
Oct 30, 2018 1:28:01 PM — The two key messages from the PEI Operating Partner forum came through loud and clear this year: Every PE firm needs an Operating Partner strategy. The structures vary, but LPs now insist that someone is covering the role. As the Operating Partner role has become more strategic for PE firms, the focus of the role has matured from cost cutting to sales effectiveness and now onto supporting and driving commercialization and Big M strategic Marketing. I have attended 5 of the last 6 PEI Operating Partner Forums. During that time, I have seen the role of Operating Partner change significantly. When I first started attending, Operating Partners (OPs) were evolving from cost-focused executives in residence to starting to work with Deal Teams on Value Creation Plans. At that time, being involved in fund raising and participating in LP meetings was an aspiration.
Apr 30, 2018 1:02:33 PM — EBITDA is not just one of our favorite acronyms in the Private Equity world, it’s the basis of value. Purchase prices are based on EBITDA and sale prices are based on EBITDA. Operating Partner groups and Resource groups came into existence a few years ago because PE firms recognized that they could add resources and expertise to help their portfolio companies grow EBITDA and earn a better exit.