Liquidity Options for PE Funds: Potential Capital Sources, GP‑Led Restructurings and Alternative Paths Available to Sponsors (Part One of Two)

The PE industry was riding a tidal wave of momentum in 2019 after sponsors raised $315 billion, which was the highest single-year fundraise in recent years. In addition, $5 trillion was invested in PE products or represented unfunded commitments yet to be called as of September 2019. That came to a screeching halt, however, with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The drastic reduction in fundraisings and M&A activity has created a real need in the market for new capital, particularly as PE sponsors seek to aid cash-strapped portfolio companies and take advantage of favorable investment opportunities. Strafford CLE Webinars recently hosted a webinar on liquidity options for PE funds featuring Willkie Farr & Gallagher attorneys Arash Farhadieh, Brian I. Greene, Mark Proctor and Raphaël Bloch. This first article in a two-part series provides an overview of potential capital providers and other stakeholders in liquidity solutions, and examines GP‑led restructurings and other alternative liquidity options (e.g., expanding or accessing existing credit facilities). The second article will evaluate the advantages, limitations and key considerations from generating liquidity from preferred equity lines, top-up funds and net asset value (NAV) facilities. For additional commentary from Proctor, see “Merits of the Pledge Fund Model and Attendant Fund Formation Issues to Consider (Part One of Two)” (Jun. 16, 2020); and “Primer on Deal‑by‑Deal Funds: Structural Overview and Investor Perceptions Affecting Adoption (Part One of Three)” (Feb. 18, 2020).

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