A brief but comprehensive introduction to the inner machinations of private equity.
In 2018, more than a third of all mergers and acquisitions in the United States involved private-equity investment, which is an expanding, multitrillion-dollar industry. According to debut author Coffey, the CEO of commercial refrigeration company CoolSys, private equity provides a surfeit of opportunities for middle-market companies and individual investors to build substantial wealth. However, the terrain is technically complex and populated by intensely competitive “players,” he says; indeed, Coffey’s self-described primer, from its title on down, is driven by sports analogies as he aims to give readers a “basic understanding of the private equity game.” He starts at the most elemental level, explaining the basic nature of private-equity firms and the structure of equity agreements as well as quantitative measures of their success and failure. In addition to explaining key technical terms, Coffey explicates the historical growth of the industry and the ways in which it may be mined for wealth. Furthermore, he furnishes an astute analysis of the hierarchical structure of the firms themselves and what one can likely expect from interactions with leadership: “Never play short ball and focus on just price—unless price is all that matters to you,” he notes at one point. “Be cognizant of the firm’s personalities and reputations.” Coffey’s style is as lucid as it is informal. His expertise is beyond reproach, as he has 20 years of experience running three private-equity backed companies. Although his counsel can be rather broad—he carefully points out he’s “not providing legal, career, or financial advice in this book”—it will be no less insightful or helpful to the uninitiated. Coffey explicitly targets his book at two kinds of readers—CEOs who may be looking to sell private equity, and executives aspiring to C-suite positions at private-equity-backed companies. However, it should also be a valuable resource for anyone looking for a single-volume introduction.
A well-designed, authoritative guide to private equity—even for inexpert readers.