Reporter tries what private equity-free life is like- report
Becky Pritchard, a reporter for Private Equity News, decided to live for a week without using anything backed by the private equity industry. In her report published in the Wall Street Journal, Pritchard said she embarked on the project after realizing that most of the restaurants near her London office was owned by a private equity firm. She also noticed that even some of her clothes, makeup and most of the food she had were either made or sold by companies who were backed by private equity firms.
Pritchard pointed out the realities she experienced while doing her experiment. She couldn't go to her office since the development it was on was partly owned by Blackstone Group. Since most coffee shops were backed by private equity firms, she had to hold her meetings in pubs. She was also unable to access social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as these had venture capital backing.
As far as her purchases went, Pritchard said she had to pay in cash since most London retailers used WorldPay to facilitate credit card payments. Bain Capital happens to own WorldPay. She also had a hard time finding public toilets in London since most of them used fittings from companies supported by private equity firms.
Citing data from Dealogic, Pritchard wrote that private equity companies had bought a total of 2,176 companies in the UK from 2002 to 2012 in deals that reached USD 398 million. British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Director General Tim Hames told Pritchard, "Although it isn't widely known what a big footprint private equity has...when you work within the industry and add it all up it's amazing you can go anywhere to get respite from the sector."
Pritchard wrote, "I knew it would be a tough week, but I was surprised at just how hard it was. It felt like there was some link to private equity or venture capital in virtually every product, shop or tech app that I touched."