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Several years ago, researchers from the strategy and finance department discussed the buyout topic and concluded that both financial and strategic aspects need to be considered, to fully understand how these deals generate (or destroy) value. This was the starting point of the HEC-INSEAD Buyout Research Program, as the colleagues decided to initiate a number of research projects with the objective of better understanding the drivers of buyout performance.

The research efforts started with qualitative field research on a small number of individual transactions to analyze the strategic logic of these buyouts at a great level of detail. This research led to the development of two series of teaching case studies and provided the basis for the subsequent phases of the project.

In the next step, data was collected on a larger number of buyouts, and a survey approach was chosen to gather the required pieces of information directly from the investing buyout funds. Thanks to the support of the national Venture Capital Associations (AIFI, BVK and AFIC ), the HEC-INSEAD Buyout Research Group administered these surveys in the relevant buyout markets in continental Europe: Italy (2000), Germany (2002) and France (2002). A detailed Research Report with findings from the Italian Market has been published in cooperation with AIFI.

During the next phase of the research program, , the focus shifted to the more mature buyout markets in the US and the UK. Critical to our success in this phase were research partnerships with the industry research firm VentureEconomics and the Centre of Management Buyout Research (CMBOR) at the University of Nottingham. Both institutions have a long experience with research in the buyout area and have supported us in the administration of an adapted survey to Buyout Portfolio Companies and Buyout Fund Managers, which has been administered in the US and the UK under a shared INSEAD-CMBOR-VentureEconomics logo. (For more information about this survey, see the section Research Partnerships) In parallel with these efforts to collect primary data directly, we started to work with a number of “Limited Partners” in the US and Europe, who shared some of the insights they gained in the process of their Fund Due Diligence Analysis, with us.

Through this substantial and ongoing research effort, made by a large team of faculty, doctoral students and research assistants, and the support from a number of research partners from the Buyout Community, it has been possible to create a unique database on buyout investments, currently with information on over 5500 buyouts in North America and Europe made by 163 Investors through 311 Funds.

The buyout sector is today characterized by record levels of fundraising and investment activity and a persistent overhang of un-invested capital committed to buyout funds. In such a situation, this industry will continue to be a fascinating area of research and we will continue our varied efforts from in-depth case studies to large-scale quantitative analyses to contribute to the development of a better understanding of this form of investment.