PE wants to see some cash flow before it starts making deals

PE wants to see some cash flow before it starts making deals
Joseph Bae, the co-CEO of private equity giant KKR, said on Tuesday thatTyrone Siu/Reuters

Happy hump day. Dan DeFrancesco checking in from NYC. We're onto the quarterfinals of the World Cup, and three of my four semifinalist picks are still alive.


Today we've got stories on cognitive dissonance among bankers when it comes to bonus season, the 100 most important people in cloud computing, and TikTokers creating their own made up currency (not a crypto joke).

But first, talk positive EBITDA to me.

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1. Show me the cash flow.

When will private equity get involved?

As the markets continue to sour, and a recession looms, everyone's wondering when PE firms will begin scooping up assets. It is the million (or perhaps billion) dollar question.

However, those hoping for a dealmaking free-for-all might be a bit disappointed, according to one PE executive.

Joseph Bae, the co-CEO of KKR, outlined areas the firm will be interested in and places it's steering clear of while speaking at Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Conference in New York, Insider's Rebecca Ungarino reports.


High on Bae's wishlist are "all things digital," he said, with one giant caveat: profitability.

Companies with high valuations that have yet to turn a profit are a no go, Bae said. And while that might seem fairly obvious — would you like to buy something that's expensive AND doesn't make money? — it's an important distinction. There are plenty of companies doing fascinating things in the digital space, but many have yet to reach profitability (*cough* fintechs *cough*).

Which begs the question: Where do those highly-valued-but-unprofitable companies end up?

Let's review the landscape:

Public markets: Not an option unless you have a death wish.


Venture funding: Can I interest you in a down round?

M&A market: See all of the above.

What we're left with is a game of chicken, as acquirers and companies stare each other down, waiting for the other to blink.

Can startups withstand their cash burn and wait until the market turns? Can PEs and VCs hold off investors pushing them to put their money to work, which has been sitting on the sidelines?

The only thing I'm sure of is that the bankers won't be happy until somebody blinks.


Click here to read more about KKR's investment strategy from its co-CEO.

KKR is a large shareholder in Axel Springer, which owns Insider.

In other news:

PE wants to see some cash flow before it starts making deals
Alfieri / Getty Images

2. Everyone on Wall Street realizes bonuses are going to suck, but no one thinks their bonus is going to suck. The majority of traders and investment bankers are expecting a bump in their year-end comp despite all signs pointing to a brutal bonus period, according to a recent survey. Read more about why Wall Streeters are all overly optimistic.


3. Meet the people leading the cloud revolution. Insider mapped out the 100 most important people working in cloud computing. Check out the entire list here to get up to speed on the key leaders in the space.

4. Jamie Dimon still thinks crypto is a scam, except for the stuff his bank is doing. JPMorgan's CEO, long a critic of digital assets, called crypto "a complete sideshow" and likened tokens to "pet rocks." However, smart contracts and blockchain tech, areas the bank are investing in, are fine. More on Dimon's comments here.

5. YOLO...but in case it's for a while you probably want a retirement plan. Robinhood, the trading app that played a key role in last year's meme-stock frenzy, is launching traditional and Roth IRAs for users. More on the company's plans.

6. Death of downtown. One of the biggest casualties of the rise of remote work has been cities' commercial districts, which, in some cases, have turned into ghost towns. Read more about the knock-on effects of people not returning to the office.

7. Goldman Sachs is going dumpster diving for crypto companies. Chaos in the crypto markets is creating investing and acquisition opportunities for the bank, according to Matthew McDermott, Goldman's head of digital assets. Read more here on the bank's plans.


8. Getting into risk management is a safe bet these days. Fintechs branching out into new industries that have to meet regulatory requirements are on the hunt for risk officers. Here's more on why risk management is so in demand right now.

9. Citi might actually get money back from that fat-finger mistake. The bank, which mistakenly sent $900 million to lenders of Revlon, is close to getting some of that money back, Reuters reports. Click here to read the latest.

10. A fake currency that works on an honor system and can be used to buy imaginary things is all the rage on TikTok. No, this isn't a joke about crypto. "Dabloons" are the latest viral trend on the popular app. This is what your kids are doing on their phone all day.

Keep updated with the latest business news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief. Listen here.

Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.