Editor's letter

Throughout this month's issue you will find manifold examples of how private equity firms and individuals have the ability to make a real difference to the environment around them. Take for example, the media and communications industry. Here, companies are polarising into those with attitudes and strategies seemingly stuck in the past and those accelerating at breakneck speed into the future. To get into the fast lane, many CEOs are turning to private equity to provide them with the insights and investment they need in order to reposition effectively. Turn to page 38 for David Snow's examination of how LBO artists are becoming the media's agents of change.

In the healthcare and life science sectors, too, venture capital is in the vanguard of developments (see our feature on p.60). With pharmaceutical giants looking to supplement their (in many cases threadbare) product pipelines, they are increasingly hitting the acquisitions trail to swallow up innovative smaller rivals. Buoyed by this resurgence of M&A activity and its ability to offer liquidity above and beyond that promised by the unpredictable IPO route, financial investors are increasingly inclined to help nurture young healthcare businesses through their early years of development.

But why rest content with merely transforming individual industries when you can attempt to reshape the attitudes of a whole country? We report from Germany on how HPV, a new firm set up by SAP co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner is attempting to stimulate commercialisation of technology as a way of re-establishing the country's economic prowess (see p.58).

Given its ability to transform and its enlivening vision for industries and economies, private equity must be adept at communicating such qualities. And yet, Philip Borel's column on p.20 makes clear that there is still much work to do in order to erode the still widely held belief that the asset class lacks any fundamental purpose that extends beyond narrow self-interest.

Struggling as they are to win friends in the wider world, at the very least GPs need to get their own investors fully on board. But in this respect, too, weaknesses are evident. In our investor relations cover story, beginning on p.46, we reflect the views of some industry observers that the quality of communication with investors often leaves much to be desired – particularly when IR professionals and deal teams are not providing consistent messages. Struggling as they are to win friends in the wider world, at the very least GPs need to get their own investors fully on board. But in this respect, too, weaknesses are evident. In our investor relations cover story, beginning on p.46, we reflect the views of some industry observers that the quality of communication with investors often leaves much to be desired – particularly when IR professionals and deal teams are not providing consistent messages.

As transformers and visionaries, private equity professionals are winning a lot of converts. It's a story that deserves to be better told.

Enjoy the issue,

Andy Thomson

Commissioning Editor