O’Melveny & Myers Partners Dean Collins and James Ford Discuss the Rationale, Mechanics and Common Terms for Secondary Market Sales of Private Equity Fund Interests

Fund documents generally require private equity fund investors to hold investments for a period ranging anywhere from ten to fourteen years.  However, in the course of that time, many developments can alter a fund investor’s desire to hold onto a private equity fund investment, for example, a change in the investor’s financial condition or significant regulatory reforms.  At the same time, prospective buyers, seeing an opportunity to purchase an attractive private equity fund interest, perhaps at a discount, help create the secondary market for transactions in such fund interests.  As the secondary market for private equity fund interests has evolved, it has grown more robust and well-defined.  To help prospective sellers and buyers understand this market and transactions in fund interests, the Hedge Fund Law Report recently interviewed Dean Collins and James Ford, partners in O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s Singapore and Hong Kong offices, respectively, each of which has wide-ranging expertise in private equity fund formation, secondary transactions and investments.  Our interview with Collins and Ford covered, among other topics: reasons for selling private equity fund interests; channels through which buyers and sellers indicate interest in such transactions; due diligence challenges for prospective buyers; trends in pricing of such transactions; the impact of regulations on the secondary market; steps in the sale of private equity fund interests; risks fund sponsors consider when evaluating whether to consent to such transactions; key transaction documents and negotiating points for such transactions; challenges in negotiating transaction documents; and fund sponsor buybacks of fund interests.  On legal considerations in connection with sponsor buybacks and other principal transactions, see “When and How Can Hedge Fund Managers Engage in Transactions with Their Hedge Funds?,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 45 (Dec. 15, 2011).

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