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Private equity is an alternative investment class and consists of capital that is not listed on a public exchange. Private equity is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies, or that engage in buyouts of public companies, resulting in the delisting of public equity. Institutional and retail investors provide the capital for private equity, and the capital can be utilized to fund new technology, make acquisitions, expand working capital, and to bolster and solidify a balance sheet. A private equity fund has Limited Partners (LP), who typically own 99 percent of shares in a fund and have limited liability, and General Partners (GP), who own 1 percent of shares and have full liability. The latter are also responsible for executing and operating the investment.
A private equity fund is typically open only to accredited investors and qualified clients. Accredited investors and qualified clients include institutional investors, such as insurance companies, university endowments and pension funds, and high income and net worth individuals. The initial investment amount for a private equity investment is often very high.