Private Equity vs Portfolio Company – Difference and Comparison

What is Private Equity?

Private equity is a structure of investment that consists of investors buying and selling shares of a company not listed on a public exchange. Private equity investments finance operations and growth or restructure a company’s ownership.

Private equity investors can provide various capital solutions, such as equity capital, debt financing, and mezzanine financing. Private equity investors look for companies with the potential to grow and generate returns above those of public markets. They will invest in companies with solid management teams and strategies and market opportunities that can be leveraged to generate returns. These investments are illiquid and are held for years.

Private equity firms have a variety of investment strategies and structures, such as venture capital, leveraged buyouts, and growth equity. Venture capital investments involve investing in new or early-stage companies, while leveraged buyouts involve investing in mature companies and restructuring the ownership and management. Growth equity investments are focused on providing capital to companies at different stages of growth.

Private equity investments involve a long-term commitment, with investors making investments for several years. Private equity investors provide guidance and advice to the management team and access to additional capital.

What is a Portfolio Company?

A portfolio company is a company that is owned or managed by venture capital, private equity, or another type of investment firm. The portfolio company is one of the firm’s multiple investments and is managed separately from the investor’s other investments.

Portfolio companies are established companies that seek additional funds for expansion or need a change in management or strategy. Investment firms provide capital, operational guidance, and access to their network of advisors and resources to help the portfolio company succeed. In exchange, the investor receives a share of the company’s profits and potential equity or ownership rights.

The benefits of investing in a portfolio company include the potential for a high return on investment, diversification, and the ability to control the company’s direction and strategy. Investment firms also provide access to resources, such as technology, marketing, and public relations services, to help the portfolio company succeed. In addition, the investor can benefit from the company’s success by receiving a portion of the profits.

Difference Between Private Equity and Portfolio Company

  1. Private equity is a form of investing in which investors pool funds to invest in companies. In contrast, a portfolio company is a company that is owned and managed by a portfolio manager.
  2. Private equity funds are used to acquire companies and restructure them to increase their value, while portfolio companies are used to grow and manage a portfolio of investments.
  3. Private equity investments are illiquid, while portfolio companies are liquid investments.
  4. Portfolio companies are constituted as corporations, whereas limited partnerships are the traditional organizational form for private equity investments.
  5. Private equity investments are subject to contractual terms, while portfolio companies are subject to market forces and not subject to contractual terms.

Comparison Between Private Equity and Portfolio Company

Parameters of ComparisonPrivate EquityPortfolio Company
Investment StrategyPrivate Equity firms have a long-term investment strategy.Portfolio companies may have shorter-term strategies.
Decision MakingPrivate Equity firms make decisions at the fund level.Portfolio companies make decisions at the company level.
Ownership structureExternal investors own private equity firms.A single investor owns portfolio companies.
Investment horizonPrivate equity firms have shorter time horizons.Portfolio companies have longer-term outlooks.
GovernancePrivate equity firms have more control over target companies’ operations and management.Portfolio companies have more autonomy.


  1. Private equity portfolio company performance during the global recession – ScienceDirect
  2. Private equity portfolio company fees – ScienceDirect