Buyout bosses get pitchy

June 9, 2011, 6:06 PM UTC

Over the years, I have heard hundreds of private equity bigs give keynotes at industry conferences (such an exciting life). Yesterday, however, was the first time I’ve ever heard one of them spend time on: “If I were an LP, here is how I would construct my portfolio.”

And, amazingly, two of them did it.

The primary offender was Terra Firma boss Guy Hands, who otherwise gave a-dour speech about how global macroeconomic trends would harm private equity in the near future (no mention of EMI – which was too bad, given that it could have been an interesting case study in crisis management). Hands isn’t officially raising Terra Firma’s next fund until early next year, but he did hold an investor dinner in Boston on Tuesday night and is clearly gearing up. Not a technical breech of the SEC’s marketing line – no explicit mentions of Terra Firma — but did walk up toward it.

Silver Lake co-founder David Roux also did a bit of LP role-playing without mentioning his own firm in the same breath. Coincidence? Or is it an indication of just how difficult fundraising and ongoing investor relations has become for large buyout shops?