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Pensions & Investments

Lerner's private equity group takes first steps in building database

By Arleen Jacobius
Published: April 16, 2012

Josh Lerner

Josh Lerner

Officials at non-profit The Private Capital Research Institute are hoping a starter set of 15 well-known private equity firms contributing to a research database is enough to get more general partners to participate.

The initial contributors are Actis; Apax Partners; Apollo Global Management LLC; Berkshire Partners LLC; The Carlyle Group; Court Square Capital Partners; Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC; First Reserve Corp.; General Atlantic LLC; KKR & Co. LP; Kohlberg & Co. LLC; New Mountain Capital LLC; The Riverside Co.; Saybrook Corporate Opportunity Fund LP; and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

“Our process is to essentially like getting the snowball (rolling) down the hill,” said Josh Lerner, the Jacob H. Schiff professor of investment banking at the Harvard Business School, Boston, who is spearheading the effort.“One of the challenges is people not wanting to make a move until others make a move.”

The main problem is academics cannot re-create private equity research to test their results because there isn't a comprehensive database. There is a “lack of replicability,” Mr. Lerner said. Right now, three academics can research the same question and come up with very different results, Mr. Lerner said.

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