What was your most significant deal of the year and why?
Ying Shing, a Chinese manufacturing business, was a very big milestone for Platinum Equity. It was our first acquisition of a company headquartered in Asia. We’ve been doing business in the region for nearly 20 years and recently opened an office in Singapore.
Tom Gores, 51
Title: Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive
Firm: Platinum Equity
Rank: Private equity, No. 6
Years at firm: 20
Residence: Beverly Hills
What was your most unusual deal of the year and why?
We recently acquired a business called PAE that does a lot of very interesting, important work providing support services for government agency missions around the world. For example, they work with the United Nations refugee program in South Sudan and operate Ebola treatment units in Liberia. They even have operations in Antarctica, supporting research by the National Science Foundation. The deal was our first acquisition of a large government services business and gives us a great platform to build on in the aerospace and defense industry.
How do you stay ahead of the game and get access to deal flow others don’t have?
We were one of the first in private equity to create a dedicated team focused exclusively on sourcing deals. Others have copied that approach, and we’ve evolved to stay ahead of the curve. Over the past year we’ve expanded the size and capability of our sourcing team, added several new positions to strengthen our coverage model, and invested in new technology that is allowing our teams to better collect and process business intelligence.
Is the work always about getting the largest return possible, or are other factors just as important?
It’s our duty to our limited partners – including many public and private pension plans, state agencies, university endowments, and other institutional investors – to make sound investment decisions that deliver strong returns. We also believe that responsible investing and successful outcomes go hand in hand. In evaluating potential investments, we consider a number of factors such as health and safety, supply chain and sourcing, and corporate governance and compliance.
What was your personal highlight over the past year?
A recent highlight is the work we’re doing to help the people in Flint, Mich., struggling with the water crisis. I grew up in Flint, my family has strong roots there, and I’m committed to helping turn things around.
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