Creative destruction? Evidence that private equity buyouts shed jobs to raise returns

Robert Cressy, Federico Munari, Alessandro Malipiero

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Building on the work of Cressy, Munari and Malipiero( 2007a) which showed that buyouts have higher operating profitability in the post-buyout period than matched companies, the paper examines contradictory popular claims that Private Equity (PE)-backed LBOs generate or destroy jobs as a result of the process of ‘rationalisation’. Using a sample of up to 57 UK whole-company buyouts and a matched sample of up to 83 controls over the period 1995-2000 we run loglinear employment regressions for 1-5 years after the buyout with buyout year variables as regressors. A PE dummy represents companies that have PE backing whilst other variables control for initial employment, gearing, investee size and profitability together with industry and macro effects. We find that there is no PE-‘choice’ effect: in the buyout year there are no significant differences between buyout companies and controls in terms of employment. But in the post-buyout regressions the private equity dummy is highly significant and negative reaching a peak of 23% per annum after 4 years. So to achieve efficiency gains, buyouts bring about quick and substantial reductions in employment in target companies during the initial period of ‘rationalisation’. However, both initial profitability, 3-year average post-buyout profitability and 3 year sales growth have positive elasticities with respect to future employment suggesting that buyouts, by generating higher operating profits from job cuts may ultimately be associated with compensating job creation. This, however, is the subject for future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    Number of pages22
    JournalVenture Capital
    Issue number1
    Early online date22 Jan 2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • private equity, buyout, jobs


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