Private equity deals drop off in second quarter despite booming start to the year, new figures show

Lucy White
Financial Turmoil Hangs Over London's City Workers
Private equity deals came in thick and fast in the first quarter of 2017 (Source: Getty)

Britain's private equity sector has endured a topsy turvy first half of the year, with buyout activity diving in the last three months despite a strong start to 2017.

A number of megadeals valued at more than €1bn (£879m) closed in the first quarter, such as CVC’s sale of Formula One for €7.5bn.

However, data from Imperial College Business School’s Centre for Management Buyout Research (CMBOR) shows a drop-off in deals from April to June.

Read more: Mid-market M&A pricing creeps up in Europe, driven by private equity funds

Overall in the first half of 2017, UK deal value stood at a reasonable €9.4bn. But only a tiny fraction of this, €1.8bn, occurred in the second quarter.

“I don’t think you can read too much into one quarter, but I was surprised just how far off the UK activity had fallen after a good first quarter,” said Callum Bell of investment bank Investec.

“The really surprising thing is market sentiment from people I speak to, such as advisers, private equity, debt providers. They’ve all said it feels quiet in the UK.”

Read more: Victorious bidders win shareholder approval to take over Shawbrook

The UK, which is traditionally the strongest region in Europe for management buyouts, was being chased closely by Germany in the first half.

Germany recorded €8.5bn worth of deals over the six months, and its second quarter performance dwarfed the UK’s at €5.6bn.

Read more: Private equity firms backed to capitalise on Brexit opportunities

Headline activity was strong across Europe, with 11 megadeals in the first half. This has already surpassed the 10 completed in the whole of 2016.

But this hid a drop in the “generally robust” European mid-market, after a spate of elections.

Related articles