Difference Between Private Debt and Private Equity

There are two ways to finance a business: private equity and private debt. Choosing what is best for you varies on personal requirements.


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Private Debt vs Private Equity

The difference between private debt and private equity is the source from which the money is obtained and the extent to which that money is used.

Private debt vs PRivate equity

Private equity allows various investors to invest in small, young firms that could be advanced and improved and can later be sold at a high price.

Whereas, private debt is a form of loan: informal and formal. The debt does not allow huge investment in the company, and the profit turns low.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPrivate EquityPrivate Debt
Role of InterestThese companies look for young firms and undervalues companies to invest in, develop them, resell and obtain profit.A personal loan, credit card, corporate bond or business loan taken from an individual or private investors.
SourceIt is obtained from private investors and companies who buy small firmsDebt can be obtained from a relative, friend or even a private company
Investors incentivesAfter the company or firm has transformed, it catches the eye of various investors who are ready to make large scale investments on the newly arising company.
This allows the original equity holders to obtain large scale profit.
For investors that are contributing debt to your company, there may be less incentive to work as hard to grow the business than if the investor was a equity holder. This is because the debt holders are first in priority to receive funds in the case after liquidation, so they do not have any incentive to grow the business.
Cash and Other RequirementsIt required large amount of cash for investment. It require expertise and skills to evaluate which company is ideal for investing and the profit that could be obtained from it’s reselling.In this, the company has to regularly make payments to the debt holder along with the interest. This leads to severe drainage of cash.
Liability on Balance SheetEquity doesn’t show up as a liability on your balance sheet. Though you have to disclose other equity holders in your financial and corporate documents.It is a liability on the company and on the balance sheet. Investors may be hesitant to invest in a company that has too much liability on its books.


What is Private Debt?

Private debt is the debt accrued by individuals or private businesses. Private debt can be obtained in diverse forms varying from a personal loan, credit card, corporate bond, or a business loan.

Private debt is risky because when a loan is provided within the family or between friends, irregular repayments can cause tension and even result in a conflicting relationship. 

private debt

What is Private Equity?

Private equity has grown significantly in the past 20 years. It is an unconventional investment class that comprises of assets that are not listed on a public exchange.

In this the funds and investors actively invest in private firms. They even take part in the buyouts of public companies. This leads to the disposal of public equity.

 A private equity fund has Limited Partners (LP), who usually owns 99 percent of shares in a fund and has limited liability, or zero liability whereas the General Partners (GP) owns merely  1 percent of shares and has full liability.

The major target of Private Equity funds is a young firm that seems to have a promising future and sound management. 


  1. Private equity is a form of private financing. In this various investors directly invest in companies, develop them and make huge profits after selling them.
  2. Private equity is risky, very illiquid and the investors expect a much higher return, than the initial investment.
private equity

Main Differences Between Private Debt and Private Equity

  1. Private debt is easier to obtain if there are good relations between people. But to invest in a new firm, a lot of study and examination is conducted.
  2. The person obtaining the debt is lending others money and living on their cash whereas the firm which is being sold looses the ownership and can no more claim any rights on it.


  1. https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/1996/199625/199625pap.pdf
  2. https://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=fin_fac
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