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Buyouts in 2021: Winners and losers

Asia could prove to be a deal-rich market in 2021, but buyout investors are still figuring out the long-term implications of COVID-19 for companies that cater to changing consumer demands

SMS doesn’t necessarily mean text message during internal discussions at The Blackstone Group. It is also shorthand for the three key characteristics of any deal: sector, management, and set-up.

The GP won’t look at assets outside of five sectors: technology, consumer, healthcare, financial services, and value-added industrials. The prospective investee requires strong management, either by retaining incumbents or recruiting new talent. And then close attention is paid to the set-up of the operational intervention plan, given the days of buying low and selling high in Asia are deemed past.

“It used to work in India in 2010, but India has gone from a 5-6x P/E [price-to-earnings ratio] to 18x. Take any part of Asia, it is well-discovered,” Amit Dixit, head of India private equity at Blackstone told the AVCJ Forum in November. “It’s not about what you buy, it’s about what you build. You need to have a plan. You can’t build everything – you must pick the right spots, where you have certain angles or operating or interventional capability. If we get the SMS right, it is very profitable.”

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