Independent Valuation Firms: Tips for Overseeing the Process and Resolving Disputes Over Conflicting Valuations (Part Three of Three)

Use of independent valuation firms by PE funds for transactions or financial reporting is rising, but liability for third-party valuations remains with the sponsor. It behooves the sponsor, then, to not only select the independent valuation firm with care, but to oversee its efforts to reach a value range suitable for both parties. Some fund managers wait, however, until the last stage of the valuation process (i.e., when the manager has the valuation firm’s final numbers in hand) to exert oversight. If opinions differ, a robust discussion about process and inputs may yield the most efficient result. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the fund manager may need to look to the engagement letter, as well as its fund documents, for obligations and requirements about both resolving and disclosing the conflict. This third article in a three-part series explores the typical process of working with a valuation firm, including how managers can oversee and resolve disagreements over valuations. The first article considered why scrutiny of valuations by investors, auditors, GPs and regulatory agencies has increased with time, resulting in increased retentions of valuation firms. The second article delved into the slow rise of independent valuation firms, different scopes of work and ways managers can choose the right firm to conduct valuations. See “Fund Managers Must Supervise Third-Party Service Providers or Risk Regulatory Action” (Nov. 16, 2017).

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