"I owe a great deal to the financial investors who gave me their time to tell their stories," said Jacoline Loewen at the launch of Money Magnet. "They lifted the curtain of secrecy that the media love to discuss."
Jacoline says she learnt three things:
First of all – the finance people are generally wonderful. They are dolphins rather than sharks and they love business. The partnerships created by private equity deals I have watched unroll, really do create jobs, pay taxes and build Canadian companies out to the global market.
Secondly: the people most likely to benefit from private equity – business owners – tend to be the people who know the least about this type of financial partnership. Private equity partners get a company focussed on transformational growth and allows all sorts of ways for owners to get money out of their business to pay for retirement, family trusts. Anyone relying on traditional bank debt – it’s just like smoking – you are stunting your growth.
Thirdly: private equity is the way for Canadian companies to survive this global market.
When Ace Bakeries recently sold to an American private equity firm, I called Linda Haynes and asked her if she had looked at any other options – such as Canadian private equity. She said no. As with most entrepreneurs, her passion was bread not the money of the business.
I wrote Money Magnet to try and get Canadian business owners like Linda Haynes to see that Canadian money is here and that instead of selling out to the Americans, we can build iconic Canadian brands that go out to the world – like IMAX, Lululemon, Cirque du Soleil, skidoo, Four Seasons. All of those began their journey of growth when the business owner decided to put their ego on check and say “I can move over and share the steering wheel. I can bring in private equity.” And by the way, the biggest PE deal in the world’s media this year was Canadian, not the KKRs of America!
The hardest part of writing this book was getting a shared definition of what the heck is private equity. I asked Angels, VCs and professional fund managers. All had different answers. But the best was “Private Equity is the energy brought to the company”. That energy is what is priceless and very hard for outsiders to understand. Today in this market, as we see the East pick up the baton from the West’s economy, it is scary times. But remember, the last big smack down in 2000 was when Lululemon, Google, Paypal and countless others were working with their private equity partners. There’s lots of money out there for you.