Private equity is ready to make moves as the economy sours, but its approach to dealmaking might be different than in years past

Hiya! Surprise, surprise, it's Dan DeFrancesco again. I'd stop introducing myself by now, but then I couldn't keep shamelessly plugging my Twitter account.

Today we've got stories on the struggles at a Blackstone-backed media company, Donald Trump losing a big backer on Wall Street, and how to make your Thanksgiving meal bomb-dot-com tasty.

But first, one person's trash is another's distressed investment.

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wealth management and tech 1 4x3
wealth management and tech 1 4x3

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

1. When the going gets tough, PE gets going. 

Financial markets, like ecosystems, are all about balance. Pain for one player means opportunity for another.

Insider's Casey Sullivan and Rebecca Ungarino examined one segment of Wall Street that is primed to take off despite an economy that has left almost everyone hurting.

Private-equity firms, bolstered with trillions of dollars in capital, are ready to make moves as times get tough.

"We excel in this kind of market," Apollo CEO Marc Rowan told analysts on a recent earnings call. "We are leaning in."

In short: the sharks smell blood in the water.

But, as Casey and Rebecca point out, it's not as straightforward as PE firms simply rolling out an old-school playbook on distressed companies (cut costs, lever up, and sell for a profit).

PE strategies have gotten more nuanced, and there are plenty of recent outside factors forcing them to rethink their approach.

To be clear, these firms are able to change or adjust.

Insider's Bianca Chan wrote a story early this week about how PE shops are starting to lean on the public cloud. The shift isn't just about helping them better manage and assess data for deals. The tech can also help their portfolio companies cut costs as well. And in classic PE fashion, firms are trying to do it in the most cost-effective way (more on that here).

The big question is where will PE firms look to deploy capital. There are plenty of potential avenues — as covered here — but perhaps an easier way to think about it is where firms won't invest.

Many of the largest PE firms are now public companies, meaning they need to consider how their actions might be perceived by the outside world, as Casey pointed out to me.

Companies that might be bad for the environment, for instance, might be a tough sell for these public-facing PE firms to make, despite how good the financials look.

How long PE firms resist those types of deals still remains to be seen, though. The industry has come a long way from the leveraged buyout days of "Barbarians at the Gate," but this is still Wall Street

Read more about the strategy PE firms with boatloads of cash plan to deploy amid a market downturn.

In other news:

guy fieri holding hamburgers on a tray
guy fieri holding hamburgers on a tray

Guy Fieri.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

2. A Blackstone-backed media company is having a tough go of it. Recurrent Ventures, which raised a $300 million funding round last year led by the PE giant, is struggling with ad sales, disorganization, and low morale. Read more about the trouble inside the owner of Popular Science and Outdoor Life.

3. Please invest in O-H-I-O! Mark Kvamme, a venture capitalist who founded Drive Capital, is launching a separate fund aiming to raise money from mostly institutional investors in the Buckeye State. Here's what we know so far about the so-called Ohio Fund.

4. Steve Schwarzman is out on Trump. The Blackstone CEO, who donated $3 million along with his wife to a Trump super PAC in 2020, said he won't support Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election. Schwarzman told Insider it's time Republicans "turn to a new generation of leaders."

5. Here's how Jeff Bezos spends his money. The billionaire recently pledged to give away his $122 billion fortune. From fancy condos and mansions to a Honda Accord, here's how one of the wealthiest people in the world has spent his money so far.

6. Private equity has one big contingent in its corner. The ultra-wealthy seem keen to invest even more in PE in 2023, according to a recent survey covered by Bloomberg.

7. From Wall Street to king of the sweets. Neil Hershman left his job as an analyst at CIFC Asset Management to own and operate a froyo shop. Now his dessert empire includes the entire NYC froyo chain 16 Handles along with Dippin' Dots and Captain Cookie locations. Here's how he did it in a little over three years.

8. What's it really like to be a manager at Amazon? The company is known for its distinct leadership culture, so we asked five former managers what the pros and cons were. This is what they said.

9. People who left Wall Street for crypto aren't second guessing themselves. Seriously. Everything is totally fine. They don't regret anything. They are super happy with their decision. They don't even know why you're asking. Read more from Bloomberg here.

10. Strap in. This Thanksgiving we're going to Flavortown. If you're unsure about what dishes to make for Turkey Day this year, let Guy Fieri take the wheel. Grab hair gel, your best pair of shades, and let's get cooking with these Fieri recipes.

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. 


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