For years, Jim Coulter and David Bonderman, the billionaire co-founders of private equity titan TPG, flirted with the idea of selling shares in their own firm to the public.
No longer. Coulter and Jon Winkelried, the former Goldman Sachs president who took over for Bonderman as co-CEO three years ago, have decided to remain an old-school partnership. TPG has instead explored other private financing arrangements, including a possible sale of a stake in the company, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.
TPG remains a holdout among peers, such as Apollo Global Management, Blackstone, Carlyle Group and KKR, all of which went public over the last decade or so.
These firms have seen their stock prices struggle in part because of the earnings volatility associated with private investments. Inside and outside the firm, some consider TPG’s approach to be a competitive advantage because it can focus on a long-term strategy that has tended to yield uneven returns.
“Their successes come in terms of taking the path that others haven’t taken,” said Susan Chaplinsky, a University of Virginia business school professor.
TPG’s decision comes as the firm tries to raise at least $14bn (€12bn) for its flagship buyout fund and a pool that would invest alongside it in health-care deals. Its strategy signals that the debate over the ownership structure of private equity funds is far from settled.
“We have chosen not to be a public company and not to define ourselves around AUM,” or assets under management, Coulter said, during a June meeting with one of the firm’s largest clients, Oregon Investment Council. TPG declined to comment. (Bloomberg)