PE Execs and “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

With only a few weeks left of summer, we’ve all heard about how fundraising is difficult, deals are taking longer to close and Tiger Woods seems to be suffering on the golf course. But a more important issue confronts us: What is everyone reading?

The Wall Street Journal this week discovered that PE execs were mainly into non-fiction (only separate mentions of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and “The Alchemist.”) More than one exec said they’re reading “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” by Michael Lewis.

peHUB conducted its own very unscientific poll and found that–surprise!– fiction was indeed popular. In fact, many execs confessed to be reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

“I like mysteries and it has been hugely publicized so I read it,” says one PE source, who added that he was given the Stieg Larsson trilogy by a partner. “I am ripping through them,” the source says.

I extended our search to include investment bankers. One executive, who claims an undying devotion to the classics, loves Harry Potter. “No modern literature,” the source says. “Just Rowling. I do like [Pat] Conroy and [Cormac] McCarthy.”

“On the Left” a newsletter focusing on the middle market loan sector from Churchill Financial (which was recently bought by Olympus Partners) recently spoofed the interest in summer reading:

First up is the thriller No Place Like Junk. It tells the story of a high yield market that was given up for dead three months ago, only to rebound with an extraordinary burst of activity. “Thirteen issuers selling $7.2 billion in bonds came to market last week alone,” raved one capital markets newsletter. “That brings the year-to-date total to almost $130 billion,” chimed in another, “far ahead of last year’s $73 billion in comparable volume, and almost matching all of last year’s $147 billion number!” Read how the economic backdrop for junk – low inflation, modest growth expectations, declining projected defaults and low interest rates – all contribute to this happy set of circumstances.

“Next on our list is The Five Loans You Meet in Heaven. We’re always up for an easy, sentimental summer read, and this fits the bill perfectly. Ever had the feeling that all the deals you’re looking at recently seem to be, well, made in heaven? Great looking businesses that have performed well over the last nightmarish three years, strong private equity sponsors putting in tons of capital, excellent ratings, and healthy yields? Our number two pick shows how you don’t have to wait for your ultimate reward, you can find those loans in your in-box today!

For more of  this weeks issue of OTL, go here.