Since 2008 there has been increasing focus on operational value creation and even firms that traditionally shunned operating groups established a role for portfolio support or a resources team. While PE organizations may be shifting to seeking more of the alpha in improved sales and operations, PE conferences and associations still seem to be primarily about dealmaking, deal structuring and networking.
Reviewing the 2012 industry conference agendas it is clear that operational value creation is still considered more of a special interest group in these events than the major thrust of the value.
- In the DowJones PE Analyst Conference only 1 out of 20 sessions address value creation and operational improvement.
- In BRIC countries where growth equity and minority holdings dominate a similar story emerges in the regional events like PE Latin America forum where no such sessions are planned. China’s International Private Equity Forum was a major event with over 40 session and again no discussion on operational value creation.
- IFC and EMPEC’s joint conference on Global Private Equity had a great plenary session dedicated to value creation in emerging markets raising the profile of the discussion in such a great forum.
- Increasingly PEI Media emerges as the though leader in value creation with their repeated commitment to the operating partner focused event.
- The Wharton Private Equity Conference in February dedicated only 1 out of 10 sessions to value creation
- Harvard’s VC and PE Conference the same month had no discussion on the topic
- Kellogg’s PE conference dedicated 1 of 6 panels to value creation.
There still seems to be a great opportunity to learn and share more for the operating professionals on the topic.