Private equity investment in European companies reached a record level of Euro 81 billion (£70 billion) in 2018, up 7% on the previous year, according to Invest Europe, the representative body for European private equity firms.
Private equity funds invested in over 7,800 companies, with nearly 90% of this in small and medium-sized enterprises. Investment increased in all segments of private equity, including larger buyouts, mid-market investments and growth capital. Invest Europe chief executive, Michael Collins, said: “Record investment levels show that private equity and venture capital can identify attractive companies with the capacity to grow whatever the broader political and economic climate. Europe is packed with high-potential and innovative businesses, and private equity is increasingly seen as a supportive partner for companies looking to expand.”
Invest Europe added that fundraising continued to remain very healthy in 2018, with EUR 97.3 billion (£83 billion) raised, the highest total since the financial crisis of 2008-09. Pension funds remained the largest investor group, providing nearly a third of fundraising.
European venture capital fundraising reached a new record in 2019 of Eur 11.4 billion (£9.8 billion), up 11% on 2017. Invest Europe chair, Nenad Marovac, commented: “European venture capital has truly come of age thanks to a combination of strong returns, a growing band of billion-euro-plus tech and life sciences start-ups, and a string of high-profile exits, including the listing of music streaming service Spotify and the sale of mobile payments platform iZettle. There are eager strategic buyers and open markets around the world for Europe’s top-quality start-ups.”