General Atlantic LLC

  • Overview

The big picture

Since its inception in 1980, General Atlantic has been among the top private equity firms in the world, investing in information technology and intellectual property in a time when these industries grew at meteoric rates.  These days, the numbers are all you need to look up for evidence of General Atlantic's clout: the company has about $13 billion in capital under management and invests from $50 million to $500 million a year; the investment period on average lasts from five to seven years.  This Greenwich-based private equity firm always had a focus on the global "big picture" which may be the reason why General Atlantic splits its investments about evenly between domestic and international companies.  The company's investments revolve mainly on public and private-growth companies, providing capital and strategic support, in particular to those that specialize in computer technology and business process services.  The company has stakes in about 40 firms.  In addition to its Greenwich, Conn., home base, General Atlantic also has offices in New York, Palo Alto, London, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and Beijing.

General Atlantic's capital structure is a little different than most private equity firms.  Besides its portfolio value of $10 billion, the company also relies on a group of individual investors (mostly non-institutional) who commit to making a series of staggered investments over a long period of time.  The commitment of these additional partners totals to nearly $7 billion and gives General Atlantic a strong support system that allows it to invest over the long term.

Tech savvy

General Atlantic invests in financial services, media and consumer, health care, enterprise solutions, and communications and electronics but is primarily known for its prowess in the information technology field.  Some of General Atlantic's most notable holdings are Lenovo Group, the largest provider of PCs in China, the New York Mercantile Exchange and Zagat.com.  The firm's portfolio also includes BM&F Bovespa, an equities and futures exchange based in Brazil; Torex Retail, a British retail-store systems company; MercadoLibre, the largest online-trading platform in Latin America; CompuGroup, a German-based e-marketing services firm; and GenPact, an Indian business-processing company.

Man of the moment

General Atlantic's CEO Bill Ford was honored in the June 2008 publication of Private Equity International as one of the Top 50 People Who Will Change Private Equity.  Ford was in good company on a list that included The Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein, Bulldog Investor's Phil Goldstein and TPG's David Bonderman.  Ford was cited for his prudence to private equity investment that stressed the merits of growth capital.  Private Equity International quoted Ford's open letter to the Financial Times which stressed the importance of growth equity in a strapped economy, "Equity capital is the lifeblood of growth companies.  The demand for growth equity financing remains strong, particularly in a tight credit environment or one in which access to the public market is become more constrained due to economic conditions, regulations and/or size limitations.  Importantly, growth equity provides not only need capital but also strategic and financial expertise."



General Atlantic LLC


Three Pickwick Plaza
Greenwich, CT 06830
Phone: (203) 629-8600
Fax: (203) 629-8818
www.gapartners.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • CEO: William E. Ford
  • 2007 Employees: 75

Major Office Locations

  • Greenwich, CT