European Private Equity Landscape

European private equity in 2019 could not be described as anything other than a successful year for the industry. Post-financial crisis records were broken, and the industry overtook 2018 by 16% in terms of deal count, amounting to 2,151 deals at a combined deal value of €260bn. Our European Private Equity Landscape Map gives an extensive overview over the European private equity players behind the deal-making, along with their respective regions and latest fund size.

We decided to solely focus on European private equity firms – implying that venture capital firms, early-stage growth firms, most classic family offices, investment holdings (with a few exceptions), or non-European private equity firms with dedicated European funds (such as Blackstone or Advent International) were not included in the map.

The map comprises 6 slices with 41 firms in the BeNeLux + France region, 57 firms in the DACH region, 39 firms in the Nordic region, 26 firms in the Eastern European region, 44 firms in the Southern European region, as well as 59 firms from the UK. Both in terms of number of buyout funds, fund size and density, the UK remains the leading European private equity hub with most of these players being situated in London.

Within the exceeding €5bn fund size circle, we find 13 firms, out of which more than half are London-based. A move by major funds to mainland Europe due to Brexit has not been seen yet. The UK share of the European buyout market (by value), however, saw a drop from 30% in years 2014-17 to 26% in 2018-19. At the same time, Germany has seen the largest increase (+4% vs. 2018) in the European buyout market share (by value) out of all the European countries. Germany is also the country that 80% of GPs view as becoming more attractive for private equity investments over the next five years, according to PwC’s 2020 private equity trend report.

Nevertheless, US private equity firms remain having a pivotal role in the European investment scene. Two of the latest events, specifically in the large-cap segment, are bids from the US firms Advent International and Bain Capital as well as CVC Capital Partners for the Italian football league, Serie A. Advent has valued the league at about €13.0bn ($14.6bn). The other event this week revolved around KKR’s acquisition of Roompot, the Dutch vacation company, as the US firm decided to acquire the firm for $1.12bn from PAI Partners. Despite the current happenings around the COVID-19 crisis, private equity is still running, and the market remains very attractive.

An interesting fact to note in our map is that all three of the Eastern European firms within €250m-€500m are headquartered in Poland, which could be explained by the country’s economic stabilisation and favourable business outlook in latest years. CEE Equity, one of the three firms, was established by a Chinese institutional bank in cooperation with institutional investors for the Eastern European region to invest in investment opportunities in the region. An increasing amount of private equity firms in Europe are utilising institutional investor’s geographical presence, particularly in Asia, for growth opportunities. The German-Chinese firm AGIC Capital, for instance, is using their European-Asian positioning to expand portfolio companies’ operations into the Asian market.    

This article is a further elaboration on European Private Equity map following our latest article ‘The Leading European Private Equity Funds’ from the 14th of June. In line with the previous article, funds have been mainly located in the Landscape Overview where their main operations are (i.e. Investindustrial or Triton; excluding CVC in Luxembourg).

Authors: Nikolas Schmitte, Erik Tromp Steineger, Joanna Przadka, Julius Petersen

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