Monthly Survey of PE Professionals Indicates Shift Toward Increased Deal Activity

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, May 22, 2020 / -- ECA Partners today announced the results of its second survey of Private Equity (PE) professionals on how the COVID-19 downturn is impacting their strategic priorities.

ECA’s previous survey, conducted in April, had found that most PE firms were shifting focus to controlling costs at their portfolio companies, while some were exploring opportunities for medium- and long-term growth. ECA’s second survey generally supports these conclusions, but also finds a shift among PE professionals from controlling costs to sourcing new deals and growing revenues at their portfolio companies. At the same time, the survey also finds that PE professionals now expect a longer period of recovery than they did in April.

“PE professionals are clearly accepting this environment as the new normal,” said Atta Tarki, CEO of ECA Partners. “With no swift re-opening in sight, more PE firms are starting to build up their deal pipelines, hoping they can deploy more capital at the end of 2020.”

Selected findings include:

• 42% of PE professionals expect to spend more time on deal sourcing than they were before the COVID-19 downturn, up from 27% in the first survey – a major shift in strategic priorities

• 54% plan to spend more time growing revenues at their portfolio companies, up from 49% in the first survey – a moderate shift in strategic priorities

• PE professionals believe revenues will return to pre-COVID levels in 2021, with a median response of Q2, whereas in the first survey a majority predicted Q4 2020 or Q1 2021

“It’s during the curves where you can overtake competition,” added Ken Kanara, President of ECA. “An increasing number of PE investors feel comfortable with their cost control measures and are instead looking at how they can gain market share.”

The survey offers a snapshot of private equity in the United States. Respondents hail from tenured committed funds, family offices, and fundless sponsors, ranging from small ($0-100m assets under management) to very large (more than $10b assets under management).

To read the full results of the survey, please visit ECA Partners website.

About ECA Partners

ECA Partners is a leading search firm specializing in placing top candidates in permanent, project, and interim roles with PE funds and their portfolio companies. Founded in 2011, ECA is a leading proponent of evidence-based methods in the recruitment and evaluation of talent. Its founder, Atta Tarki, is the author of Evidence-Based Recruiting (McGraw Hill, February 2020).

Atta Tarki
ECA Partners
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