European private equity activity began to recover in the last quarter of 2016 after a difficult first nine months to the year, according to a report published today.
Although the number of European private equity deals tracked by the Private Equity Barometer fell, the total value of the transactions came in at its highest level, €39.1bn, since the third quarter of 2015.
Over the year, SL Capital Partners and Unquote tracked 1,495 deals worth €122.9bn, down from 1,870 worth €143.4 in 2015.
In the UK, the number of deals fell, but the total value climbed to its highest total of the year, €9.2bn, in the final quarter.
“Our view was that the fourth quarter of 2016 would be a quieter period for European private equity managers and this has been borne out in the volume of deals announced,” said Peter McKellar, head of SL Capital.
“Notwithstanding, in the buyout space the volatile large cap segment proved again to be a swing factor, resulting in overall value for the fourth quarter increasing.
“Given the changing macro-economic and political environment, globally and in Europe, we think 2017 will provide interesting opportunities.”
As well as providing total private equity figures, the report also broke out estimates for buyout activity, growth capital and early-stage deals.
There were 172 buyouts tracked in the fourth quarter, down from 178 in the third, worth €36.1bn, up from €23.4bn.
In growth capital, 116 deals worth €2.7bn were down from 132 worth €2.9bn.
And in the early-stage area, volume dropped from 42 to 35, while the value of the deals climbed 46 per cent, from €255m to €329m.
The biggest buyout deals during the fourth quarter included Amundi’s €3.6bn acquisition of UniCredit’s Italy-based asset management business Pioneer, Carlyle Group’s €2.9bn acquisition of French chemicals business Atotech and Lone Star Funds’ estimated €2.2bn deal for Germany-based building materials company Xella from PAI Partners and Goldman Sachs.
The biggest UK deals saw Canada’s Onex Partners buy caravan holiday parks operator Parkdean Resorts for £1.35bn and CVC Capital Partners and Cinven land storecard maker NewDay in a £1bn-plus deal.