Private Equity Titans Cashing Out?
Tom Metcalf and Gillian Tan of Bloomberg News report that private equity titans have quietly discovered how to get even richer: Robert Smith built Vista Equity Partners into a money machine. The private equity firm has racked up more than $120 billion of deals since its 2000 inception, mostly in technology companies, and produced some of the highest returns in the industry. That has made Smith one of the world’s richest people with a $6 billion fortune. But like many private equity tycoons his wealth is largely illiquid, with the bulk of it locked up in Vista’s investment funds. Smith, 56, pioneered an increasingly popular way to free up some of that treasure. He sold about 30% of the company he co-founded, helping him to become one of the most prominent philanthropists in the U.S. and buy at least $100 million of real estate, while also adding $500 million to the firm’s balance sheet. Since cutting his first deal with Dyal Capital Partners in 2015, Smith has stepped up h