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March 27, 2024

Private equity gets defensive: a global lawyers perspective

With a deal drought across the global private equity industry, we talk to Chris Field of global law firm Dechert about what’s next for M&A and buyout deal flow for 2024. We discuss valuations and defensive deal structures as vendors and buyers find ways to come together.

Top quote: “I have never worked on an earn-out, ever, that has not resulted in some form of dispute.'”

In this Fund Shack podcast with Ross Butler, Chris reveals what it takes to make it as a top private equity lawyer.

Fund Shack Podcast Featuring Chris Field of Dechert

In this engaging episode of the Fund Shack podcast, 🎙️ Ross Butler interviews Chris Field, a partner at the global law firm Dechert, to discuss the current state of international private equity markets and the intricacies of private equity lawyering.


  1. Market Sentiment and Interest Rates: Chris Field highlights the fluctuating sentiment in the private equity market, noting the anticipation of rate cuts and their potential impact on deal-making. He explains how interest rates have become the biggest challenge for private equity firms, affecting deal volume and value.
  2. Deal Volume and Value: Despite a significant drop in deal volume and value over the past year, 2023 outperformed 2019 levels. Chris explains this apparent paradox, attributing it to the short-term memory of market participants and the exceptionally high activity levels in 2021 and early 2022.
  3. Fundraising Trends: Chris discusses the bifurcation in the fundraising market, with capital being concentrated in large multi-strategy managers at the expense of smaller and newer funds. This trend is influencing the strategic decisions of private equity firms.
  4. GP Stake Sales: A significant portion of private equity firms are considering selling stakes in their own businesses. Chris outlines various motivations behind these sales, including succession planning, liquidity injection, and bringing in external expertise to enhance the firm’s capabilities.
  5. Valuation Gap and Deal Structures: The podcast explores the creative deal structures being employed to bridge the valuation gap between buyers and sellers. Chris highlights the increased use of deferred consideration mechanics, such as earnouts and vendor loan notes, to align the interests of both parties.
  6. Regulatory Environment: Chris delves into the evolving regulatory landscape, focusing on antitrust scrutiny and foreign direct investment regulations. He explains how these factors are shaping deal-making strategies and the need for private equity firms to navigate complex regulatory requirements.
  7. Private Equity Innovation: The discussion covers innovative liquidity solutions in the private equity space, including the rise of NAV facilities, collateralized fund obligations, and GP-led secondaries. These innovations are helping firms return liquidity to investors despite challenging market conditions.
  8. Technological Impact: Chris touches on the role of technology in private equity transactions, particularly in the context of regulatory compliance and deal execution. He discusses the potential for AI and other technologies to streamline processes and improve efficiency.
  9. Dechert’s Positioning: Chris outlines Dechert’s strategic positioning in the private equity market, emphasizing their global presence and expertise in complex transactions. He highlights the firm’s commitment to providing high-quality advisory services across various geographies and sectors.


Chris Field provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the private equity market, emphasizing the challenges posed by interest rates and the creative solutions being employed to navigate them. He discusses the evolving regulatory environment and the impact of technological advancements on deal-making. Dechert’s strategic positioning as a global leader in private equity advisory services is highlighted, showcasing their expertise in navigating complex transactions and regulatory landscapes.

#PrivateEquity #MergersAndAcquisitions #InterestRates #Fundraising #GPStakeSales #ValuationGap #DealStructures #RegulatoryCompliance #LiquiditySolutions #InnovationInFinance #Podcast #BusinessPodcast  #FinancePodcast #Entrepreneurship #ThoughtLeadership 

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Fund Shack is a private equity podcast and global media channel for alternative investment professionals.

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Katie Mitchell