Private Equity 4.0 is upon us, and with it hopefully enough experience to start drawing inferences about what works and what does not in private equity. Maturity is an expensive and time-consuming proposition sometimes; to paraphrase the infamous quote: good decisions are based mostly on experience, but experience is the cumulative result of many bad decisions... The financial and economic crises of 2007–2009 were very much the last nails in the long-rotting coffin of private equity “as it used to be”. There is also a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the developments of the last 70 years in the industry and, with the dust slowly settling, to envision the future of this most original and resourceful industry. There is no doubt in our mind that private equity is here to stay. Its contributions to society and the economies of the world are too large to ignore. But yes, it did stray at times, taking advantage of temporary opportunities created by mismanagement and misguided economic policies. These arbitrage opportunities were low-hanging fruits; it is preposterous to blame private equity investors ex-post for having taken advantage of such blatant economic insanities. But these low-hanging opportunities have, for the most part, been arbitraged away (don’t despair though on the creative ability of governments to create new ones…), forcing the private equity industry, against its better judgement, to start considering more sustainable business models, including the ...

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