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Much like the overall private equity ecosystem, the private equity co-investment landscape is undeniably growing and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Historically, co-investing was implemented for one-off decisions to fill the gap in financing that GPs were unable to obtain. Now, GPs have come to embrace co-investment capital with a more recent phenomenon pushing its way to the forefront. We are now seeing GPs form dedicated co-investment vehicles, which eliminate the need for GPs and LPs to negotiate terms for each transaction. This structure gives co-investors access to a stream of co-investment opportunities with preferential economics.
Co-investing is beneficial to not only the GP, but also to the co-investors (LPs) who benefit from high-quality investment opportunities at favorable economics. Co-investing allows LPs to commit capital alongside preferred GPs and create tactical allocations to a pool of high-quality investments for their portfolios. Additionally, the more appealing fee structure of co-investments, which often have no management fee or carried interest, is fueling demand from institutional investors.
The value of co-investment deals has more than doubled since 2012 (totaling $104 billion in 2017) with the number of LPs making co-investments in PE rising from 42% to 55% over the past five years. In 2017, roughly 20% of the private equity market accounted for this volume. The volume of co-investment deal value in recent years has increased rapidly, illustrating the growing appetite investors have for this space.
Given the competitiveness of the co-investment market, having the right GP relationship is of utmost importance and a major determinant in the success of a program; however, given the size of the maturing private equity co-investment marketplace, we encourage investors to — at the very least — retain the option to pursue co-investments as even a modest allocation to the space can improve the return profile of a private investment program.
The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.
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