Informations and abstract
Keywords: Crisis, enterprise, financialisation, Italy, private equity.
The articles examines the business model and the activities of private equity funds. Starting point of the analysis is the ambivalence of private equity: the principally positive function of private equity for the enterprises as alternative financial source to the bank system stands in stark contrast do the negative labels, such as «barbarians» or «locusts», used for them. Firstly, the article shows that the ambivalence is immanent to the «business model» of private equity. Against this background the articles then examines the development of private equity funds in Italy, building on statistical data and the empirical evidence linked with the financial crisis. At the end four ideal types of private equity are proposed: the «entrepreneurial», the «speculative» and two hybrid forms in between. In the entrepreneurial ideal type, PE investments are linked to a minority owner¬ship of private equity fund(s), maintaining the employer's leadership industrial strategies and low or no leverage; the speculative ideal type is characterized by high leverage, depersonalizing and invisibility of ownership and reduction of the enterprise to a simple commodity among others in the portfolio of PE funds.