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Orlando Bravo! See the data powering the newest Forbes billionaire's burgeoning portfolio

3 months ago by Jon Marino in Innovation

Some Wall Street uber-alpha billionaires use their clout to do things like host insipid book tours and make ill-advised comments about well-liked Democratic candidates on the eve of one having a major heart procedure.

Others, like Orlando Bravo, use private-equity-millions to load a plane up with water, diapers, granola and satellite telephones, and take it to Puerto Rico after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. 

To-may-to, to-mah-to, some might say. But Bravo - the newest private equity billionaire to be crowned by Forbes - has a lot show off these days, whether its the LBO shop that bears his name, the $30 billion in assets it runs, or his generous philanthopic efforts back home. Here's the data that has been powering his powerhouse PE portfolio: 

"Wall Street's Best Dealmaker," according to Forbes (ahem, Steve) learned to stick to his knitting after the first dot-com bubble busted, and now focuses on "well-established software companies, especially those with clearly discernible moats," pens Forbes scribe Antoine Gara, in a profile this week. Gara goes on to write that Bravo's strategy is to "triple their size with better operations, and by the time he strikes, he's already mapped out an acquisition or turnaround strategy."

One such example is California-based storage and security company Barracuda Networks ($NYSE:CUDA), which Thomas Bravo bought out in late 2017 - so our data covers much of the post-LBO trajectory. Under Bravo, from February 2018 forward, the company grew headcount nearly 17% as tracked by our LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Count. 

Bravo isn't the only one with the LBO-to-grow mentality. It's increasingly popping up in the private equity space, as the Masters of the Universe are able to put more data to work to grow market capitalization and market share - as opposed to just slashing jobs and dealing off assets, the mantra of the business in the 80s, 90s and Aughts. Massachusetts-based healthcare technology firm Imprivata ($NYSE:IMPR), which Thoma Bravo acquired in 2016, more than doubled job postings, to 52 recently, as the chart above shows. 

Even the best dealmaker on Wall Street can catch a bad beat every now and then. Bravo's PE firm split Dynatrace ($DYNATRACE) from Compuware, then turned the Massachusetts-based tech company into a cloud subscription services provider (the Forbes profile notes that is where 70% of Dynatrace's sales originate). It grew the company into a multi-billion dollar IPO darling and this August, it made its market debut. You can go ahead and guess what happened to Dynatrace, and every other IPO, after that. The stock slipped, and job postings dipped more than 14%. If the market turned out to misjudge Bravo's latest IPO - he's a great value investor armed with nearly $13 billion in new funds, he can always buy it back. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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