Two recent data points frame an unlikely fact about the global private equity industry.
The latest mergers & acquisitions statistics from Dealogic show private equity accounting for 5% of global M&A transaction value in the year to August 3rd, down from 9% in 2014. The second data point, shown in the graphic above, is a breakdown of Financial Times’ articles by topic in the 12 months to 31 March 2015. Private equity-related articles were 38% of the proportion of those articles on M&A in general. As a proportion of all major FT stories, covering everything from central banks to oil to election fever, private equity accounted for 6%. There were fewer articles on the euro in crisis or climate change or Chinese business than there were on private equity.
Admittedly FT coverage is a narrow gauge and carries the emphasis of its editorial bent – namely occidental finance, (see articles published by region, below), something that will no doubt evolve under its new ownership. On the other hand, there is no noise in the data and most would consider the FT as a reasonable proxy for international financial media.
Unequivocally then, private equity is punching well above its weight in terms of FT coverage, both relative to broader M&A and world events in general.
According to Ten50’s own analysis, the percentage of these articles that are contentious are low and most involve on-the-record commentary from a related party. On top of that are the many constructive background briefings that help to shape and deliver an article.
Clearly there is more to good communication practice than media ‘hits’, but the next time someone breezily describes private equity as ‘media shy’, you might suggest they acquire a subscription to the FT.