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Buy and build strategies in private equity: Boost or transformation?

  • This paper presents a first examination of how private equity (PE) fund managers actively develop their portfolio companies through so-called “buy-and-build” strategies (B&B), in which a portfolio company serves as a platform for add-on acquisitions. We argue that, because of holding period constraints, PE fund managers face a trade-off between the quantity and complexity of add-on acquisitions. Thus, in comparison to their peers, portfolio companies could do more, but similar, acquisitions (the “boost hypothesis”) or as many, but different, acquisitions (the “transformation hypothesis”). Using a control group of non-PE-owned companies, we find strong support for the “boost hypothesis.” Difference-in-differences estimates show that the probability of an acquisition is almost doubled after PE entry. However, we find no statistically significant differences in the complexity of acquisitions between PE- and non-PE-owned firms. This holds true for several complexity measures of domestic and cross-border acquisitions. Finally, we iestigate whether buyers pay a premium for this acquisition boost. We find that deals with B&B yield significantly higher multiples at exit, with this effect being driven largely by cross-border B&B strategies._x000D_ Keywords: Buy and build, cross border acquisition, internationalization, private equity_x000D_ JEL Classification: G24, G3

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Document Type:Working Paper
Author:Andreas Hammer, Heiko Hinrichs
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Financial Management
Year of Completion:2016
SSRN, 2016