For a long time it has felt like one-way traffic. In a world of booming buy-outs and Sarbanes-Oxley regulation, executives have fled public markets for the privacy and financial incentives of private equity. That has been the case both for those running the companies in portfolios and for those joining funds to do deals.
So it is rare to see somebody going against the flow. Michael Angelakis, a managing director at Providence Equity Partners, is heading to cable operator Comcast to be chief financial officer. Perhaps there is an element of lifestyle involved. With a young family, Mr Angelakis should have a more predictable schedule at Comcast than as a dealmaker. He will also have a different challenge, going back to his roots in management at a cable operator during a period of rapid change in the industry.
His move highlights quite how much it costs to lure someone back from the lucrative world of private equity – where in many cases senior talent costs even more than at public companies. A chunk of his package is presumably to compensate him for money left on the table at Providence. But, on top of a $5m signing bonus and $5m in stock for walking in the door, he will get a $6m deferred compensation credit in 2007. He will also receive $4.9m worth of restricted stock and options. That is before his base salary of $1.5m, with a bonus of at least $4.5m a year if he meets performance targets.
There is also an interesting question on Mr Angelakis’s timing. Is he getting out of private equity on a high? After all, a stable position at Comcast might look increasingly attractive in a few years’ time if today’s red hot buy-out market makes way for leaner years.