By Bryn Wilson
This thesis contributes to existing knowledge of the private equity asset class by examining whether public-to-private leveraged buyouts outperform public peers before and after the mega-buyout era (2005 – 2007). This paper considers the impact of four groups of value drivers on both market- and peer-adjusted returns. These value drivers include operational improvements, leverage, multiple expansion and market timing, and management and corporate decision making. I analyze how these factors change over time, aiming to determine whether public-to-private target firms improve profitability, return on assets, and investment more than peers. I also examine how employment changes at target firms relative to peers. Multivariable regression analysis is used to quantify the impact of operating performance changes, leverage, multiple expansion, credit market conditions, GDP growth, and management and corporate decisions on market- and peer-adjusted returns. The paper constructs a sample of 227 public-to-private transactions from 1996 – 2013 and analyzes 74 transactions with post-buyout financial information available. Results suggest that private equity ownership post-buyout does not lead to significant operational improvements relative to peers, but that improving profitability and ROA are crucial to outperforming the market and peers.
Dr. Connel Fullenkamp, Faculty Advisor
JEL classification: G3; G34; G32; G11