Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The determinants of the risk premium required by Italian private equity funds
Author: Scarpati, Fernando A.
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access through EThOS:
Access through Institution:
This research aims to identify the determinants of the ex-ante risk premium required by Italian private equity funds (PEFs) when valuing privately-held target companies. In theory, perceived risk is a key driver of expected returns and anticipated value, but: "Although PE (private equity) has experienced rapid growth, the risk and return profile of this asset class is not well understood." (Jegadeesh et al., 2009). Some papers have attempted to assess the ex post returns pioneered by Lerner & Gompers (1997). Yet such studies reveal both contradictory conclusions and hitherto inexplicable phenomena: what some authors call the 'private equity premium puzzle' (Moskowitz & Jorgensen, 2000). Such contradictory conclusions include a wide spread of abnormal realized returns ranging from -6% (Phalippou & Gottschalg, 2009) to +32% (Cochrane, 2005). In this research, the perceived risk and expected return drivers refer not to the ex-post realized return that PEF investors actually achieve, but to the required return the PEF hopes to gain from the target investment. At this stage, two important indicators adopted in PEF parlance have to be differentiated: (i) the Expected IRR (E.IRR) and (ii) the Threshold IRR (T.IRR). The first is the IRR as an output of a business plan, and the second assesses the return expected by PEFs according to the risk perceived in the business plan. Put simply, these are respectively, the anticipated return and the (risk-adjusted) required return. The study of the T.IRR is one of the main contributions of this thesis since it has never been studied before by academia as an indicator of the ex-ante perceived risk of a PEF target company. This is partly due to two important reasons. First, most previous papers examine ex-post performance, and only a few (e.g. Manigart et al., 2002), try to assess return expectations and risk perceptions using an ex-ante perspective. Second, most of the prior studies are quantitative and try to measure statistical effects captured by the ex-post IRR. By studying 26 deals (in 13 Italian PEFs) in detail (qualitatively and quantitatively), this research project has been able to observe how PEFs assess risk and estimate the T.IRR. The research project reveals that PEFs apply neither rational-based models nor explicit formulae to assess risk exante. By observing a set of phenomena unique to the PEF sector (fees effect, investment speed effect, persistence effect, money-chasing deal phenomenon, illiquidity effect, etc) whose existence has been suggested by many recent papers, this thesis has been able to propose an adjusted version of the three-factor model of Fama and French (1993, 1995) to assess risk. The application of a quasi-rational-based asset pricing model to guide PEFs assessments is also an important contribution of this thesis. In fact, Franzoni, Nowak and Phalippou (2010), claim to be the first to calculate the PEFs' cost of capital by applying asset pricing models. However, their approaches are not only based on the observations of realized returns, but also consider only one additional factor to the standard Fama & French three-factor model (1993), the liquidity factor. In contrast, the results and the model proposed by this thesis are based on qualitative and quantitative ex-ante information and include not only the classical factors of that model, but also some other factors intended to explain some of the phenomena listed above which might also drive the risk premium in private equity funds. Based, therefore, on explaining the behavior of PEFs, the research develops a framework that can be applied by Italian PEFs and perhaps other PEFs in a more rational manner than their past behavior suggests.
Supervisor: Neale, Bill Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Determinants ; Private equity funds ; Italy ; Ex-ante risk premium ; Risk premium ; Perceived risk