Capital Structure and Leverage in Private Equity Buyouts

Monday November 22, 2021

Private equity buyouts depend on debt financing. But in contrast to the literally thousands of empirical studies over more than half a century that have focused on the capital structure of public companies, there are remarkably few large-scale empirical studies of the role that leverage plays in buyouts—its effects on the risk, returns, incentives, and other basic characteristics of LBOs. We recently conducted a study designed to shed light on the various kinds of debt now used to finance buyout transactions, and to provide some current insights on the profitability and leverage of such transactions using newly available data. Authors: Greg Brown (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Robert Harris (University of Virginia), and Shawn Munday (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).