In your words: lack of women in deal leadership in PE, CD&R leads investor group in $100m investment in M2GEN

CD&R leads an investor group that injects $100 million in M2GEN and exploring the lack of women in deal leadership in private equity

Happy Thursday!

Looking forward to some warmer weather next week.
Find a cure: More than a year ago, CD&R launched a strategy focused on data and informatics businesses helping the pharma industry from the discovery stages to clinical development through commercialization.

Now comes news that CD&R led an investor group that injected $100 million in M2GEN, which uses real-world data to help find cures for cancer, Sarah writes today. Other investors in the deal include Merck Global Innovation Fund and McKesson Ventures. Existing shareholders Moffitt Cancer Center, Hearst Healthcare and Ohio State University Foundation will remain significant minority investors in the business.

As part of the recapitalization, M2GEN simultaneously announced it has reached a five-year agreement with Merck through which it will provide valuable patient-consented, de-identified, linked clinical and genomic data in support of Merck’s oncology efforts.

This partnership effectively kicks off the CD&R playbook, which involves bringing its resources to bear in terms of infrastructure investment, while really amplifying the commercial orientation of the business. Merck “allows us to go out and really invest and continue to build out those data capabilities,” Sarah Kim, partner at CD&R, tells Sarah.

Read more here.

Recently, we explored the lack of women in deal leadership in private equity. We heard lots of reasons for this, but one thing stood out: change at the top is only happening slowly, if at all. And it may come down to LPs pushing for real change at the top.

The article touched a nerve and we received lots of feedback from readers on this issue. We published your thoughts here, and below is a sample of the kind of reaction we received. As always, we love hearing from you. Don’t hesitate to hit me up at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com with your thoughts on this issue.

Constance: Men have been prominent in most financial/deal roles for years and years. The excuse has always been women want to start families and therefore cannot be relied upon. In my honest opinion having kids has nothing to do with why there are very few women in PE. In my experience, men do not like women telling them no. Meaning, if a man likes a deal and a woman does not, for valid reasons, she is wrong and emotional, and just does not get it. Men’s perception of how a woman “should be” is the problem. Two men can have a discussion over a deal, curse and call each other names, then shake hands and brush it off. A man and a woman can have the same discussion, but it will be labeled an argument, and it never ends the same way.

Bree: Instead of simply stating that diversity is important to them, LPs could ask more specific questions in their operational due diligence that don’t allow for their managers to get around the issue with easily manipulated statistics which count the overrepresentation of females in support roles. For example, in their operational diligence LPs could ask, “What is the proportion of women with voting power on the investment committee?” Or “What is the ratio of women to men in front line or deal partner positions?” A lot of private equity firms wouldn’t be able to say they have any female representation at all in investment decision-making roles.

That’s it! Have a great rest of your day. As always, hit me up with tips, gossip, feedback, chili recipes or just to chat at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com, or find me on LinkedIn.