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Private equity specialist defends ‘barbaric’ industry

Private equity specialist defends ‘barbaric’ industry

A PRIVATE EQUITY firm specialist has lashed out at “populist press” that presents private equity firms as barbarians, asset strippers and debt guzzlers, claiming that negative…

A PRIVATE EQUITY firm specialist has lashed out at “populist press” that presents private equity firms as barbarians, asset strippers and debt guzzlers, claiming that negative comments are due to misinformation.

Speaking at a conference held by the Securities & Derivatives Industry Association in Sydney last week, executive chairman of CHAMP Private Equity, Bill Ferris, defended what he described as a maligned industry, according to AAP reports.

Ferris also criticised the private equity industry for not successfully selling its image, and for allowing controversy around failed buyouts of companies such as Qantas to dominate discussions about the sector.

Referring to the common claim that private equity companies are “barbarians” in breaking through barriers and taking companies by force, Ferris said “I know that happens, but it is a rarity”, AAP reported.

He used his own firm as his proof, claiming that of the 60 transactions it had competed, not one was hostile. “Not a single one was other than by way of invitation and negotiation up front,” he said.

Ferris claimed that myths about his industry were damaging and inaccurate, including the idea that firms were in favour of a quick fix.

“The myth that we come in and ramp it up and flog it out to unsuspecting Joe Retailer on the public markets,” he said. “The overwhelming practice is that we are overwhelmingly owners and builders.”

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