GPs release data to academic PE database

Fund managers have joined limited partners and other industry players in supporting a global private equity database being developed by Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner.

A group of private equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, The Carlyle Group and Apollo Global Management have agreed to contribute transaction and fund information to a database being developed by the Private Capital Research Institution (PCRI).

The PCRI plans to expand the number of organisations contributing data as a way of increasing its population sample, particularly for funds operating in the mid-market, said Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner, who is leading PCRI's efforts.

The group aims to have the first version of the database ready by the fall of 2012. 

The need for a new private capital database, according to the PCRI, stems from current challenges to performing “high-quality academic research” and “significant discrepancies across existing databases”.

Many researchers have also experienced difficulty gaining access to fund and transaction information from existing databases.

Last September, the Institutional Limited Partners expressed its support for the PCRI database, which has also gained the support of a number of data providers, including the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

“With more data and reports being generated on the subject, it will provide the opportunity for that [knowledge] gap to diminish, ILPA executive director Kathy Jeramaz-Larson told sister title Private Equity International at the time. “We support transparency in the asset class between institutional investors and general partners, and for the most part, both groups are data oriented,” she said.

The PCRI has been working on the global private capital database since late 2010, which will be stored behind a firewall at the National Opinion Research Center, an organisation associated with the University of Chicago. The PCRI will collaborate with The Brookings Institute to analyse and share its findings with academics, industry players, policymakers and the general public.

“When you think about some of the questions that limited partners would want [answered] getting dispassionate high quality research going will make a big difference,” said Lerner. “There a number of people who are LPs who are on our advisory board who have been quite supportive.”

A total of 15 GPs have agreed to provide data to the PCRI initiative, including investors in the upper end of the market such as Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Thomas H Lee Partners as well as mid-market firms like The Riverside Company and Kohlberg & Company. Other fund managers that have agreed to contribute to the database include Actis, Apax Partners, Berkshire Partners, Court Square Capital Partners, First Reserve Corporation, General Atlantic, New Mountain Capital and Saybrook Corporate Opportunity Funds.