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Control investments in large companies, typically using significant financial leverage with complex capital structures (a combination of bonds and term loans). Company size typically start with $1bn in Enterprise Value, but can be lower. Often involves acquiring a public company and converting it into a private company. Representative firms: PE-units of KKR, TPG, Blackstone etc.
Control investments in companies in $300m - $1bn size range in terms of Enterprise Value. Involves significant amounts of leverage, but with less complicated capital structures. Public to private transactions are also possible, but less frequent. Representative firms: Advent International, Irving Place Capital, Carlyle Middle-Market, TA Associates etc.
Control investments in companies under $300 in Enterprise Value. Leverage could be used, but typically comes from private sources (banks, credit funds) and not capital markets.
Investments in fast growing, but profitable companies. Typically non-control investments to help entrepreneur / existing management team fund growth or "move to a new level". Aggressive leverage is not typical. Very often firms are very sector-focused in their investments. Representative firms: Summit Partners, Catterton Partners, Alliance Consumer Growth, etc.
Investments in companies operating in developing markets. Usually "significant minority" stakes (i.e. 25-50% of equity) and using no or very modest financial leverage. Generally very diverse vertical in PE asset class and comes in many different form and investment styles. This strategy can be part of a larger firm's investment focus / fund or be specific for a particular market / region. Representative "pure EM" investors: Actis, Baring Asia, Baring Vostok, GP Partners, Helios Partners, etc.
Principal investments companies in financial or operational distress with investment thesis build around turning the operations or repairing the capital structure / de-leveraging and refinancing. Often involves taking the company through a bankruptcy process or committing capital as part of it. Firms usually have very operations-focused teams. Representative firms: Oaktree Capital, Cerberus Capital Management, KPS Capital Partners, Littlejohn&Co, Atlas Holdings, Monomoy Capital, etc.
Real Estate PE is a niche area which required expertise and experince in real estate, The Fellows Program usually only has 1-2 students per year interested in this area. Students focused on real estate in particular should also be involved with the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. Representative firms: The Blackstone Group, Lone Star Funds, Starwood Capital Group, Brookfield Asset Management.