A silent, seismic shift has dramatically altered corporate ownership and business governance globally. From 1996 to 2015, the number of publicly traded companies in the United States alone dropped nearly 50%. Some of this ownership shift includes failure of firms or acquisition of firms into larger conglomerates (either domestic or foreign), but much of the de-listing shift comes from publicly traded firms becoming private. A major catalyst for this shift has been private equity firms, which take companies private and incorporate them into their own portfolios. The types of private equity firms and the approaches to managing these firms has evolved over the last 40 years through three general phases. While in the first two phases, PE firms turned around the companies they acquired, we believe that in the newest phase the PE firms themselves are also being transformed.
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