Preliminary figures have been released today in the Q4 2019 Private Equity Barometer, published by Unquote, Europe’s specialist private equity information provider, in association with Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Overall European Private Equity

  • Private equity investors completed 807 deals in Q4 2019, slightly down on the previous quarter, but still the second highest in the last decade
  • A substantial amount of capital was deployed in Q4, with quarterly deal value posting its third highest figure of the last decade at €67.6bn
  • On the back of three exceptionally strong quarters in succession, private equity activity in 2019 broke new ground, with total deal volume and value reaching all-time annual records

European Buyouts

  • The number of buyouts in Q4 dropped 10% to 286, but remained the second highest level in the 10-quarter period
  • Buyout value rose modestly on Q3 to €55.5bn, posting its highest figure since Q1 2018
  • In annual terms, buyout volume grew by 3.6% to 1,119 deals, posting its highest figure in the last decade
  • The total value of completed buyouts in 2019 was €200.9bn, slightly down on the previous year, though it remains strong compared with the average annual figure over the last decade.
  • Mid-cap volume dropped 41% to its lowest in the last 10 quarters, with 48 deals, while mid-cap value fell by almost half to €13.1bn, posting its lowest figure since Q 2018
  • Large-cap volume, a typically volatile figure, rose to 14 from nine. Their value was significantly up in Q4, reaching the second highest figure in the last 10 quarters
  • The small-cap buyout market saw little change in both volume and value in Q4, staying in line with the previous quarter’s figures
  • Deal volume in technology businesses has been rising steadily over the last 10 quarters, with deal value doubling on Q3 to €18.5bn
  • In terms of deal sourcing, the number of secondary buyouts and carve-outs returned to normal levels after a spike in Q3
  • Regionally, the French buyout market was notably down in both volume and value (50 investments worth €5bn), settling to a more normal level from the previous quarter’s high of 79 deals valued €12.7bn
  • CEE had a strong quarter with 16 investments worth €575m. Volume and value were significantly up on the previous quarter
  • The UK & Ireland was top in both volume and value with 58 deals worth €23.6bn. UK value was boosted by the signing of several €1bn+ mega-buyouts, including Merlin Entertainments (valued at €6.6bn), Sophos (€3.6bn) and LGC (€3.5bn)

Merrick McKay, Head of European Private Equity, Aberdeen Standard Investments, commented: “The key findings are consistent with activity we see from our underlying managers and funds. The European private equity market has maintained high levels of investment activity, with total deal volume (2,960) and value (€246bn) in Q4 being an all-time annual record. The quarter saw a slight weakening in buyout volume, but value increased due to the signing of six €1bn+ mega-buyouts, of which three were UK-based. Growth/expansion capital activity was very strong in Q4 and 2019 overall, although early-stage investment activity fell slightly over that in 2018”

“With record levels of dry powder available for new private equity investments, we expect continued high levels of European investment activity, although a pause or slowdown due to exogenous factors can never be dismissed.”


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  • We are high-conviction, long-term investors who believe teamwork and collaboration are the key to delivering repeatable, superior investment performance.
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