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Private Equity Frets That It’s a Loser in $2 Trillion Virus Bill

  • Firms concerned portfolio companies not eligible for loans
  • Industry is seeking clarification from SBA and lawmakers
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly News Conference
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Private equity firms are working the phones in Washington to fix what they consider a major flaw in the coronavirus rescue bill: they fear that companies they own are largely ineligible for the billions of dollars in small business loans the U.S. is doling out to save the economy.

In a flurry of calls this week to congressional offices and the Small Business Administration, private equity firms said the $2 trillion law seems to exclude most of their portfolio companies due to how a “small business” is defined. They’ve asked the SBA, which is writing regulations for the lending program, to specify whether their holdings can participate.