Dry Powder: The Private Equity Podcast

Market Overview: Is the Roller-Coaster Ride Over?

We consider the rebound from a remarkably strange year.


Market Overview: Is the Roller-Coaster Ride Over?

Who could have predicted what 2020 brought? It was an unprecedented, uncomfortable, and strange year, a time of great tragedy and challenge for many of us. We’re still struggling to find the words to describe it.

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When I consider the year in context of the private equity industry, however, there is one word that keeps coming to mind: resilience.

In the 25 years that I've been in the field, I’ve seen the industry overcome enormous challenges, whether it’s asset bubbles bursting or the financial collapse of 2008 or the fierce competition and rising prices of recent years. Over and over again, the industry has found a way to respond and create value for all of its stakeholders in an amazing fashion.

Perhaps the most amazing fact of 2020 is that the industry has done it again at lightning speed. Private equity deals dropped by as much as 80 to 90% in the first half of 2020, and came roaring back in the second half of the year, with nearly 70% of all transactions being done in the last six months. Look at the macro data on the industry, from deals being done to exits to fund-raising to returns, and what those stats say is that 2020 was another very solid year across the board for private equity.

But after going through the roller coaster of 2020, most investors are asking us: Is it really over?

Today on Dry Powder, we’ll look back at the remarkable rebound story of 2020, and we’ll consider what lessons we can apply with confidence to 2021.


The Private Equity Podcast

In our new podcast series, Bain's Hugh MacArthur interviews leading experts on the trends and opportunities that will redefine the private equity industry.

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