Johan Cassel Pegelow

Harvard Business School


The dynamics of pay-for-performance sensitivity in private equity funds
Job Market Paper

I explore the dynamics of pay-for-performance sensitivity in private equity funds. Carried interest gives private equity fund managers 20% of fund profits, conditional on beating a hurdle rate. Consequently, early deal successes (failures) put the fund in (out of) the carry, making pay for performance close to 20 cents on the dollar (zero). I document that companies acquired in buyouts grow faster when acquired by funds that have a higher pay-for-performance sensitivity. The effect is stronger when explicit incentives are expected to be more important. I find similar results using exogenous variation in pay-for-performance sensitivity due to public market movements. My findings provide evidence of the importance of incentives for value creation in private equity.

Managerial ownership and firm performance: Evidence from private equity

I examine the relationship between managerial ownership and operational performance for firms acquired in a buyout. I show that high post-buyout CEO ownership stakes are associated with improved firm profitability. This result is economically stronger for changes in ownership stakes, and is solely present when the CEO is retained. Ownership stakes are higher when initial profitability is low and is associated with cost cutting. Overall, the results support the view that improving managerial incentives is an important part of value creation in buyouts.

Racial diversity in private capital fundraising
with Josh Lerner and Emmanuel Yimfor

Black- and Hispanic-owned funds control a very modest share of assets in the private capital industry and encounter difficulties in raising first-time funds, despite the fact that their performance is indistinguishable from other funds' returns. We explore this seeming paradox. We find that the size of the follow-on funds raised by minority managers is less sensitive to the performance of the previous fund than that of other private capital groups. The sensitivity of inflows to performance increases sharply during periods of high racial awareness. We also document minority-owned groups' difficulty in raising first-time funds. Together, the results support the hypothesis that the limited representation of Black- and Hispanic-owned firms in private capital stems at least partially from the nature of investor demand, rather than the supply of available fund managers.

Liquidity provision in the secondary market for private equity fund stakes
with Rui Albuquerque, Ludovic Phalippou, and Enrique Schroth

We estimate the demand for private equity fund stakes in the secondary market using a broker's proprietary data on bids. We show that the demand response to aggregate liquidity shocks is negatively related to contemporaneous bids, and this relationship is stronger for funds that most likely are put for sale in times of low liquidity. We also show that the demand response to aggregate liquidity shocks is unrelated to future NAV-to-NAV returns and to future bidding behaviour. These results are consistent with the variation in discounts in private equity stakes being linked to the variation in liquidity provision in the secondary market for private equity.

Work in progress

The long-term impact of private equity ownership

The dark side of private equity: Defaults following buyouts

Abandon ship! When do private equity firms pull the plug?