FIRST ROUND(2)

Just how anyone can question private equity's status as a force for economic good is beyond us. Not only do many successful general partners create jobs in their investment portfolio, but they also boost local businesses around them. Take Apax Partners for example: the London-based firm is preparing to move to a new nine-storey headquarters in the West End and has handed a company called SG InteriorExterior a contract to fit it out. By the time the job is done, “74,500 sq ft of prime office accommodation” will be awaiting the Apax team, complete with a landscaped terrace on the sixth floor affording panoramic views of the city skyline and a luxury gym in the basement. The project's expected cost? £7.3 million. How do we know? Well, SG InteriorExterior were so chuffed with the assignment, they sent us a press release.

QUOTABLE
“What's happened is that the concept of risk-adjusted rate of return has been replaced by what I would call risk-ignored rate of return, and people are substituting yield for credit judgment. I think it is a very dangerous phenomenon.”

Turnaround specialist Wilbur Ross telling the Financial Times that private equity is showing signs of being in a bubble.

“[Banks'] relatively low proportion of LBO linked assets compared with total balance sheet sizes (or even own funds) seems to show that the potential for a severe market downturn to have a material impact on their financial accounts is still rather limited.”

The European Central Bank taking a more positive view on the private equity boom, in a report published in mid-April.

“Budget not important.”

Overheard at New York restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at The London, regarding a table of Goldman Sachs employees, who spent upwards of $50,000 on wine. The restaurant is in a building owned by The Blackstone Group, which has paid roughly $212 million in banker fees so far this year, according to Dealogic. The comment was reported in a New Yorker article.

“We're not rushing into India and China, just because we're not close to being done in Europe yet. There's still a huge opportunity here.”

Neil Rimer of Index Ventures' in this month's Privately Speaking. See p. 40.