private equity

The San Francisco trial pitting Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most venerable venture capital firms, against Ellen Pao, a former junior partner who claims that she faced sexual harassment and discrimination, has forced an institution that prefers to remain private into the public gaze. Among other things, it has raised questions about how well John Doerr, its de facto leader, knows his own firm.

On the 50th anniversary of Berkshire Hathaway, the investment fund-cum-industrial conglomerate that now employs 341,000 people and is the fourth most valuable company in the US, the question is: is Warren Buffett inimitable? Or could the Sage of Omaha be cloned?

Andrew Hill

Permira’s agreement to buy Ancestry.com fills me with dread because I am a closet user of the genealogy site – largely through its compulsive iPad app, which my colleague Lucy Kellaway highlighted in an article in 2011.

Bought out: Prince William's family tree, as depicted by Ancestry.com

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John Gapper

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been a bit of a trainwreck for the private equity industry.

First, its image of being a bunch of ruthless asset-strippers has been revived by the Democrats (and even Romney’s Republican primary opponents) and now his tax affairs are casting a dark shadow.

As the New York Times reported this weekend, Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has launched a broad inquiry into whether private equity firms evaded tax by turning their 2 per cent management fees into performance fees, which are taxed at a lower rate. Read more