Can Private Equity firms beat corporate acquirers at their own game?

Gianni Spolverato


What was my dream when I was little?

I can not really remember what my dreams as a kid where, but I loved to read books and to have discussions with my parents about everything… I guess academia fits the picture.

What am I doing when I am not working on my PhD?

Doing a PhD offers a lot of advantages, but at the same time it is a lot of individual work. So during my spare time I like to be surrounded by friends doing any kind of activity (going out for a drink, travelling, sports…).  

What is my PhD about?

Simply put, my PhD looks at the role of Private Equity investors in the growth of their portfolio companies. More specifically I look at how Private Equity firms help their portfolio firms to grow via mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Why is this important for practice?

Increased competition for deals and an abundance of available cash has resulted in high prices being paid for Private Equity targets. This made it much more difficult for Private Equity firms to create value within their portfolio firms by relying on classic methods such as financial engineering. As a result, more and more Private Equity firms are looking for alternative value creation methods, of which M&A or “buy-and-build” has become a very important one. Knowing what the success drivers of such buy-and-build strategies are is thus a key point of interest for the entire industry.

How do I like to be remembered after my PhD?

Vlerick offered me lots of opportunities in terms of my personal development. Not only did it provide me with PhD funding, but it also welcomed me in an environment full of brilliant minds and inspiration. My wish is to also make my contribution to the school by assisting future and fellow researchers in all the endeavours where my experience and expertise might proof to be useful.

How do I see my future?

I do not yet know whether my career path will continue in academia or whether I will move to practice, but I am sure that it will be related to the topic I am doing research on (M&A and Private Equity). No matter what my eventual choice will be, I am sure the PhD will help me in the leap towards my next dream job.

Want to know more about Gianni?

Check out his cv page.

& rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times