Competition for private-equity deals heats up

Private Equity is learning to compete less on price and more on other parameters, such as speed. Some private-equity firms have set up dedicated teams of analysts, bankers and consultants at ever-earlier stages of a prospective deal. Indeed, according to Graham Elton, partner with Bain & Company and head of European private equity at the firm, many now go so far as to maintain full-blown “shadow portfolios” of companies they like, drawing up detailed business plans long before they ever come up for sale so they are ready to pounce.