Once in a while editors of PE industry magazines take some time to analyze the public relations efforts that GPs make. This time it is CVC Capital Partners that gets taken to task. According to PEI, CVC put out a press release insisting its investment in Australia’s Nine Entertainment (NEC) wasn’t as troubled as some newspapers had suggested. It said four CVC funds were invested in the company, with less than 5 percent of their total capital.
At the bottom of the page CVC said, “The overall performance of the CVC Funds continues to be top quartile after fully reflecting the latest financial position of NEC.” PEI points out that CVC did not describe its overall performance and said nothing about which firms CVC is benchmarking against. The news release asks readers to take at “face value” an unspecified sample of unnamed competitors. “This doesn’t amount to much, and the value of making the point in this way seems hard to grasp,” says PEI.
The editorial closes with an imperative statement: CVC is one of the star players in global private equity, and widely considered an astute operator”, but PR is not “among its strengths … If the industry still wants to use ‘top-quartile’ as a classifier, it’s time to use it properly. Otherwise it is better to not use it at all,” said the editors of PEI.