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Private equity can be the big winner in the Covid-19 bear market

The virtue of private capital is that it can withstand short-term volatility in valuations of assets held for the long term – and now is the time to prove that.


Investors may already be eagerly hunting bargains amid the carnage in the coronavirus bear market

One large and powerful group of investors, with plenty of money to put to work, should be quite relaxed at the precipitous falls stock markets have suffered due to the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 and may already be eagerly hunting bargains amid the carnage.

At the start of this year, data from Prequin, Dealogic and other sources suggested that across funds dedicated to buy-outs of established companies, venture capital to support growth companies, specialist real estate funds and distressed funds, private equity sponsors had more than $2 trillion of dry powder – money that had been raised in large rounds of fund raising and not yet invested.

Much of that money comes from long-term investors such as sovereign wealth funds, pension plans, wealthy family offices and some public funds allocating to alternatives.

It has been further boosted by some of those limited partners in private equity funds, led by Canadian pension plans and including some of the Middle Eastern and Asian sovereign wealth funds, seeking to co-invest alongside private equity sponsors and even setting up their own direct investing channels.