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Private Equity Demystified

An Explanatory Guide

Fourth Edition

John Gilligan and Mike Wright

05 November 2020

ISBN: 9780198866992

448 pages

In Stock

Price: £33.49

Private equity has grown rapidly over the last three decades, yet largely remains poorly understood. Written in a highly accessible style, the book takes the reader through what private equity means, the different actors involved, and issues concerning sourcing, checking out, valuing, and structuring deals.



Private equity has grown rapidly over the last three decades, yet largely remains poorly understood. Written in a highly accessible style, the book takes the reader through what private equity means, the different actors involved, and issues concerning sourcing, checking out, valuing, and structuring deals.

  • Provides a detailed exploration of the multiple issues surrounding private equity
  • Written in an accessible style, suitable for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers
  • Contains extensive examples throughout alongside summaries of academic research in the field

About the Author(s)

John Gilligan, Director of the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab, Saïd Business School, and Mike Wright, Former Professor of Entrepreneurship, Imperial College Business School

John Gilligan has worked in the private equity and venture capital industry for over 30 years. He started his career in 1988 at 3i Group plc as a financial analyst. He was a Corporate Finance Partner of Deloitte and latterly BDO for over twenty years. He is the Director of the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab at Saïd Business School, a non-executive director and Investment Committee member of Big Issue Invest, one of the largest social impact investors in the UK. He is also a Visiting Professor at Imperial College Business school and has degrees from Southampton University, Nottingham University, and London Business School.

Mike Wright pioneered research into management buy-outs and private equity. He founded the Centre for Management Buy-out Research, CMBOR, in 1986. He was Professor of Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School and Chair of the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies. He published extensively on entrepreneurial ownership mobility and finance in leading academic journals and has over 75,000 Google Scholar citations. His books include Accelerators: Successful Venture Creation and Growth (2018), The Routledge Companion to Management Buy-outs (2018), Student Start-Ups: The New Landscape of Academic Entrepreneurship (2019), and How to Get Published in the Top Management Journals (2019). He was a member of the British Venture Capital Association Research Advisory Committee.

Table of Contents

    Preface to the Fourth Edition
    1:The Private Equity Market
    2:The Private Equity Fund
    3:Measuring Private Equity Performance
    4:Doing a Deal: The Process of a Private Equity Transaction
    5:Financial Markets, Financial Instruments, and Financial Engineering
    6:A Detailed Worked Example of a Leveraged Buyout
    7:The Private Equity Critics and the Research
    Appendix 1: Detailed Data Appendices
    Appendix 2: Summaries of Peer-Reviewed Studies of Buyouts and Private Equity


"Mike Wright was one of the towering figures in the field of private equity. He pioneered rigorous data analysis of buyouts and private equity a long time before it became fashionable to do so and stimulated a vast body of research on the subject as a consequence. This book exemplifies the major contribution that Mike made to the field." - Colin Mayer CBE FBA, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

"If you are looking for a book that provides you with a full picture of the structure and economics of private equity there is no finer source. The text covers the history of the field, its economic role, a balanced view of its merits and results, and a great deal of vital information on how deals are done and investments made to prosper. Its bang up to date with lots of new content especially on the recent explosion of the use of fund leverage. Simply excellent." - Jon Moulton, Chair of finnCap and of The International Stock Exchange, member of the board of the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty

"As private equity's influence continues to swell all of our lives are now inextricably linked to the asset class. It has never been more important to remove the barriers and complexities private equity often seeks to hide behind. Private Equity Demystified is therefore essential reading for each and every one of us to ensure this asset class is kept in check." - Alice Murray, Editor, The Drawdown

"Demystifying the private equity industry - specifically leveraged buyouts - is no small feat, requiring exceptional expertise, powerful insight and great depths of knowledge. Gilligan and Wright display it all, as they take the reader through what is a thorough explanatory guide that Invest Europe recommends most highly." - Eric de Montgolfier, Chief Executive Officer, Invest Europe

"Much is written about private equity and a lot of it, even the articles in certain major newspapers, can be extremely superficial or ill informed. This publication is the antithesis of such coverage of the subject.The bookis thorough, considered and balanced. John Gilligan's experience as a practitioner and the huge body of data compiled by CMBORunder the leadership of the late Mike Wright are blended togetherto make it very readable despite tackling quite complex concepts. This book should be a must-read for people aspiring to either work in private equity or cover private equity news." - Neil Macdougall, Chair of Silverfleet Capital and Chair of BVCA

"This book is an outstanding effort to describe a complex topic by a practitioner and a special scholar. It is Mike Wright's last piece of published work. He was an exceptionally kind man, whose body of work is one of the most extensive contributions to the field of private equity. He will be missed." - Ludovic Phalippou, Professor of Financial Economics at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

"The new edition of Private Equity Demystified addresses critical questions about the role of private equity at a crucial time for global economic and social recovery. Well-directed capital should support a sustainable recovery and allow businesses around the world to build back better." - Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW

"Private Equity Demystified is an extraordinarily comprehensive compendium of information on private equity. It provides a detailed analysis of how private equity funds operate, how and why they are structured the way they are, and how they can provide value for investors and society. The book is an important resource for investors and other market participants, and a useful handbook for academic scholars that study private equity." - Wayne Landsman, KPMG Distinguished Professor of Accounting, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"I only wish all commentators had such an informed and balanced view of a complicated area. I gave it to my sons to explain what I do for a living - I can think of no higher praise." - Philip Rattle, Managing Partner, August Equity