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[Results] PE-Backed or Not?

Last week, we launched a quiz testing your knowledge of private equity portfolio companies. As it turns out, private equity is fairly proficient at keeping its investments privateThe average score on the quiz was 40.35%, which is somewhere between 3-4 correct responses. However, for 7 of the 8 questions the most common answer was the right answer — the majority answer was wrong only for question 2.

See the questions, answers, and response percentages below:

1) Which of the following food delivery companies is NOT PE-backed?

Cheryl & Co. is the only above company to remain independent of private equity. Hickory Farms is backed by Sun Capital; Wasserstein owns Harry and David; and Edible Arrangements joined in partnership with Catterton Partners last year.


2) If you are looking to expand your knowledge, look to this private equity-owned company…

Question 2 is the only one to have stumped the majority. The Teaching Company is the only portfolio company on the list, backed by Brentwood Associates. The University of Phoenix is a subsidiary of Apollo Group — an S&P 400 corporation — but not Apollo Management.


3) Which of the following gym chains is NOT currently owned by a private equity firm?

Gym chains have been a popular investment for private equity firms in recent years. Retrofitness, although once owned by Lake Capital, is the only above chain not currently held in a portfolio. In-Shape is in partnership with Fremont Private Holdings and Pulse Equity Partners; Planet Fitness is backed by TSG; and 24 Hour Fitness is currently owned by Forstmann Little & Company.

4) Which of the following coffee companies is owned by private equity?

Although Folgers was acquired by The J.M. Smucker Company in 2008, Seattle’s Best Coffee is the only company owned by PE — currently in Roark Capital’s portfolio.


5) Which preppy clothing store was bought by a private equity firm in 2011?


J.Crew was taken private by TPG  and Leonard Green & Partners in 2011 for a healthy $3 billion. TPG had been an investor in the company from 1997-2006, when the fashion clothier went public.


6) Which sandwich chain is 33% owned by private equity?

In 2007, at the height of the buyout era, Jimmy John’s sold a 33% stake to Weston Presidio. The other three chains have remained independent of private equity investments thus far.


7) Which supermarket is majority-owned by private equity?

Albertsons was sold to Cerberus — well, Cerberus’ AB Acquisition group — in early 2013. The original owner, Supervalu Inc., sold the chain along with four other chains to the PE group. Kroger was almost sold back in 2007.


8) Which of the following furniture companies is PE-backed?

After nearing bankruptcy in 2008, Restoration Hardware was sold to Catterton Partners and Tower Three Partners LLC. Today, the two firms are on track to make 8x their initial investment.

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