This thesis details our experience assisting BASE Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in New York City, on three prospective agricultural dealership deals over the course of this past academic year. The firm is currently structured as a Fundless Sponsor. This distinct structural trait is common for a type of private equity firm known among practitioners as pledge funds. This creates an interesting element for our experience as there is very limited academic research on these types of firms, which, since the Great Recession, have become popular players in middle-market private equity deals. We, first, provide some historical context on pledge funds and identify their primary differences with traditional private equity. The remainder of the paper documents our experience working on the agricultural dealership deals. We have organized this portion after the manner in which we received assignments. We go into detail on the specific projects with which we were tasked, our interactions with the partners and the major takeaways we had from this learning experience. This thesis paper will enrich the academic knowledge regarding pledge funds—and private equity generally—by documenting a real experience of what it is like performing analyst-level tasks at a real firm. Additionally, we were privy to information that is highly confidential, and though we have protected the confidentiality of the companies through pseudonyms and redaction of confidential material, all of the financial data shown, models provided and qualitative discussion is real.
- Pledge Funds: Decisions and Analysis in Various Stages of the Deal Process
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