Governance shake-up leaves private equity firms reeling

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Sir David Walker unveiled new governance rules for the embattled industry on
Tuesday, forcing private equity to produce ‘business reviews’.

Advisers suggested that the most awkward aspect of the business reviews for
private equity would surround their disclosure of risks, which must be fully
explained in such documents.

With firms taking on massive debt to finance deals, and often disagreeing
with tax authorities on the interpretation of tax rules, such information may
well form a significant part of the new disclosures.

The rules may also simply hand an advantage to ever more secretive
businesses, advisers have argued.

The reviews could prove cumbersome, involving disclosure of environment,
social and community work, among other things. Other private businesses, such as
those owned by Sir Richard Branson and Sir Philip Green, are exempt from
disclosing this information.


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