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The Importance of Management Equity in Private Equity-Owned Businesses

Management equity, also known as "carry" or "profits interests," refers to the portion of ownership that is granted to the management team of a company. This type of equity is typically granted in private equity-owned businesses as a form of alignment and motivation for the management team. It aligns the interests of the management team with those of the private equity firm and incentivises the management team to work towards increasing the value of the company.


In a private equity transaction, the private equity firm typically acquires a majority stake in the company and installs a new management team. The private equity firm works with the management team to develop a plan for growing and improving the company, and the management team is responsible for executing on this plan. The private equity firm expects a high return on its investment, and the management team's equity stake serves as a way to align their interests and ensure that they are motivated to work towards maximizing the value of the company.


There are several benefits to granting management equity in a private equity-owned business. First, it serves as a way to attract and retain top talent. Management equity provides an additional form of compensation that can be attractive to potential employees and can help to retain current employees who may be considering leaving for other opportunities. This is especially important in private equity-owned businesses, where the management team may be asked to take on additional responsibilities and work towards a faster timeline for returning the private equity firm's investment.


Second, management equity can help to foster a sense of ownership and accountability among the management team. When the management team has a financial stake in the success of the company, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to the company's success. This can lead to better decision-making and a greater focus on the long-term growth of the company.


Finally, management equity can serve as a way to align the interests of the private equity firm and the management team. The private equity firm is primarily focused on maximizing its return on investment, while the management team may be more focused on the day-to-day operations of the company. By granting management equity, the private equity firm ensures that the management team is also motivated to work towards maximizing the value of the company, which ultimately benefits both the private equity firm and the management team.


There are a few key considerations when it comes to granting management equity in a private equity-owned business. First, it is important to determine the appropriate amount of equity to grant. This will depend on the size and stage of the company, the responsibilities of the management team, and the expectations for the company's performance. The private equity firm and the management team should work together to determine an appropriate equity stake that aligns with the goals of both parties.


Second, it is important to determine the vesting schedule for the management equity. Vesting refers to the length of time that must pass before the management team is able to fully exercise their equity stake. A common vesting schedule is four years, with 25% vesting each year. This helps to ensure that the management team is committed to the company for the long-term and that the private equity firm is able to recoup its investment before the management team is able to fully exercise their equity.


Finally, it is important to consider the tax implications of granting management equity. In the United Kingdom, HMRC has specific rules regarding the taxation of profits interests, and it is important to ensure that the equity grant complies with these rules.


In conclusion, management equity is an important tool for private equity firms to align the interests of the management team with those of the private equity firm and to motivate the management team to work towards increasing the value of the company. It can also serve as a way to attract and retain top talent, foster a sense of ownership and accountability among the management team, and align the interests of the private equity firm and the management team. However, it is important to determine the appropriate amount of equity to grant, the vesting schedule, and the tax implications. It is important to obtain legal and financial advice to ensure that any management equity granted complies with relevant local regulations and laws. Additionally, it is important to consider the unique commercial context and circumstances of the specific private equity-owned business in question. Overall, management equity can play a crucial role in the success of a private equity-owned business, but it should be implemented thoughtfully and with care.


Enquiries


For further information, please contact info@langdoncap.com


About the author


Sabbir Rahman is Managing Director of Langdon Capital and a Partner at Bridging Funding. He has held prior roles with Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Barclays Investment Bank. He has executed over £60 billion in notional value of transactions across financing, M&A and derivatives with global corporates, private equity funds and financial sponsor groups.


About Langdon Capital


Langdon Capital provides in-house transaction services to C-suites and Boards of publicly-listed and PE-backed businesses during the negotiation, execution and due diligence of corporate finance and capital markets transactions and senior interim resourcing solutions across finance, treasury, strategy and corporate development | contact info@langdoncap.com | visit www.langdoncap.com


About Bridging Funding


Bridging Funding is a private credit fund engaged in direct lending of commercial property bridging loans in the UK and select South-East Asian markets. We lend between £200k and £20m per transaction. As a private credit fund, our credit sanctioning process is leaner and more flexible than lenders funded by bank capital | contact sr@bridgingfunding.com | mention code “Langdon” for preferential rates | visit www.bridgingfunding.com


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