23 march, 2023
Dylan Parikh

Private Equity Due Diligence: 7 Best Practices For 2023

Private equity investments are highly illiquid, and unlike public market investments, there is no daily market price to rely on for valuation. Moreover, illiquid assets require a much more careful approach when it comes to pricing, valuation, and exit.

Private equity due diligence is thus an essential step in the investment process for private equity firms. Due diligence allows the investor to gain a deep understanding of the target company and see if the company has a good foundation to sustain growth barring any external obstacles.

In this article, we at Dialllog PE CRM provide a comprehensive overview of private equity due diligence and best practices for 2023 and beyond. It will provide insights into what investors should look for when conducting due diligence, as well as how to structure and execute a successful process. Additionally, it will discuss how to identify potential risks associated with investments, as well as how to protect against them.
Pro Tip

Dialllog is the private equity software that can help you overcome the industry's biggest challenges by providing a centralized all-in-one relationship interactive database.
What is Private Equity Due Diligence?
Private equity due diligence is a critical part of the pre-investment process in which potential investors assess a company's financial situation and operating performance. This process helps them make informed decisions about whether to invest in the company or not.

PE due diligence involves analysing data, reviewing documents such as audited financial statements, tax returns, and customer lists, as well as interviewing management team members. It gives investors an understanding of the company's current performance, its future prospects, and how it is run.

It is important to remember that due diligence is not a one-size-fits-all process; the steps taken will depend on the target company's size and sector. Potential investors should also bear in mind that the process can be costly, so it is important to ensure that any deal is worth pursuing.

7 Areas of a Proper Private Equity Due Diligence Process

Private equity due diligence typically involves an analysis of the company's finances, including its balance sheet and income statement, as well as a review of any legal documents associated with the company. The due diligence team will also evaluate management, assessing the team's skills and experience in running a business.

Let's take a closer look at these seven main areas of due diligence in private equity.

1. Financial Due Diligence

Financial due diligence is perhaps the most important part of due diligence as it helps pinpoint how sound a company's foundation for growth is. It involves detailed analysis of a company's financial condition, performance and future prospects. This type of due diligence typically includes an examination of its accounting records, financial statements, cash flow projections and other relevant information that provides insight into the company's financial health. Additionally, it should consider potential risks and opportunities the company may face in the future.

      2. Legal Due Diligence

      Legal due diligence in private equity involves a thorough analysis of a company's legal documents, such as contracts, leases, and intellectual property rights. Investors will also review regulatory compliance requirements for the business's operations. By conducting legal due diligence, investors can identify any potential risks associated with their investment, such as liability issues, that could affect their return on investment.

      3. Commercial/Market Due Diligence

      It is important to predict where the industry will be in the next few years.
      Commercial due diligence involves competitive market considerations. It is important to know where a company currently stands in its industry and where its potential to grow lies. It is also important to predict where the industry itself will be in the next few years. It is necessary to consider the investment only when the company has a foundation for growth or if the industry is growing.

      4. Management Due Diligence

      Management due diligence is the examination of a company's management team, including their qualifications, expertise, and experience. Investors conduct this to assess the current state of the business, as well as its future potential. During this type of due diligence, investors look into items such as past performance data and customer feedback. Additionally, they may speak with key management personnel, review financial statements and reports, and evaluate the company's corporate governance structure. All of this information allows investors to better gauge whether or not a business is worth investing in.

      5. Technology (IT) Due Diligence in Private Equity

      Technology or IT due diligence is particularly important today. Its purpose is to review the technology strategy, IT capabilities, and security of the company being acquired. IT due diligence will assess how a company uses its existing systems and processes to support their business goals, as well as provide an understanding of any potential risks related to its usage. This process also helps identify gaps in the target's IT infrastructure, such as weak security or legacy technologies that need to be addressed.

      Other key areas of focus are the company's data privacy and protection policies and its application development processes. Through this due diligence process, investors can better understand their potential exposure to risk in the acquisition and decide if it is worth proceeding with the transaction. By ensuring a thorough review of the target's IT capabilities and risks, investors can be more confident in the success of their investment.

      6. Operational Due Diligence
      Operational due diligence in private equity focuses on the company's day-to-day operations. Investors will assess if the current operations are efficient and whether any changes need to be made in order for it to better meet its goals. They will review a variety of aspects, such as customer service, inventory management, and production processes. In addition, investors may perform market research to gain insight into customer trends and the competitive landscape.

      7. Environmental and Social Due Diligence
      Environmental and Social due diligence in private equity is an assessment of a company's environmental practices and its impact on the community. Investors will review the business's compliance with local regulations and look for opportunities to improve the firm's sustainability initiatives. Additionally, they will assess the company's social practices to ensure that it is meeting community standards.

      In the current business environment, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors are critical to both long-term sustainability and financial gains. Many firms are investing heavily into uncovering ESG insights to invest in a manner that satisfies all of their current and future stakeholders. Leading firms like Blackstone, Schroders Capital, and KKR are heavily considering ESG factors into their investments.

      What Factors Do Investors Consider When Performing PE Due Diligence?

      Financial Factors
      When performing financial due diligence, analysts look at financial statements like the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. They consider characteristics such as sales, operating income, EBIT/EBITDA, net income, accounts payable/receivable, inventory, customer acquisition cost, customer churn rate, etc. They compare these figures vertically to determine how much they make in sales to how much money is lost to costs, and horizontally to determine growth or losses year over year. Investors will also perform ratio analysis and compare ratios such as earnings per share (EPS), price-earnings (PE) ratio, dividend payout ratio.
      Legal Factors
      During legal due diligence, investors will look into red flags that may indicate discrepancies between what the target company has told the investors vs. what is actually true of their legal standing. They will look into findings such as articles of incorporation, shareholder equity structure, bylaws and amendments, annual reports, compliance with laws and regulations, legal claims against the company, outstanding liabilities.
      Commercial Factors
      Finally, during commercial due diligence, PE firms will look into statistics regarding market size and growth trends, competitive landscape, sales volumes, product pricing, consumer trends, economic (External) conditions.
      Pro Tip

      Dialllog can be a compelling CRM choice for private equity due diligence, particularly when considering its advantageous features like email marketing automation, lead tracking, and robust lead management capabilities. To witness Dialllog's capabilities firsthand, we invite you to schedule a one-on-one demo call.

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      How Can Dialllog Improve Your Private Equity Due Diligence?

      Dialllog CRM can help you collect and organize all of the necessary due diligence information in one place. This will allow you to easily track each step of the process and keep an eye on any potential red flags that may arise during the evaluation.

      Additionally, it provides tools for organizing data, tracking investments, and managing communication with outside investors. This will make it easier to create tailored reports and presentations for investors, as well as provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the company's overall performance.

      Dialllog also offers features such as data integration, automated reporting, and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that can help you gain further insights into the company's operations.

      All these features should help you make more informed decisions when evaluating potential investments and ensure that you have access to all of the necessary information during the due diligence process in one place.

      What is Dialllog?

      Dialllog is the first ecosystem relationship CRM software designed specifically for PE, VC and M&A funds to manage the full investment cycle.
      No more endless Excel spreadsheets, docs, notes and emails. Dialllog brings all the sporadic information into one PE software to create data-driven workflows.