Login to access your exclusive member-only content and account information.


Not a member? Join us

  • Operate to the highest level of professional standards
  • Access authoritative industry research and data
  • Navigate the complex EU regulatory environment
  • Network and engage with industry leaders
News & opinion

European private equity outperforms listed equities over long term, new research shows

12 Oct 2020

  • European buy-outs delivered an IRR of 15.00%, beating MSCI Europe index return of 5.84%
  • European VC returns an IRR of 16.79% over a 10-year horizon, close to that of North American funds

Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors, today published two new reports demonstrating private equity’s long-term outperformance of public equities. The data shows that European buy-outs delivered an annualised net IRR of 15.00% since inception to end-2019, far ahead of the 5.84% achieved by the MSCI Europe, while growth investments and venture capital also clearly beat equities benchmarks.

The research comes from two Invest Europe publications: the first, ‘Benchmarking Public and Private Markets with the Public Market Equivalent (PME)’ compares a range of performance metrics to determine their relative strengths and weaknesses, while the second, ‘The Performance of European Private Equity Benchmark Report 2019’, records private equity performance over the last four decades.

With the publication of these reports, Invest Europe is putting private equity performance under a new lens, comparing like-with-like to create a transparent and fair account of private equity performance and its contribution to investors.

Eric de Montgolfier, CEO of Invest Europe, commented: “As the private equity industry has matured, it has become clear to fund managers and investors alike that traditional measures for comparing private equity investments with listed equities are perfectible. With the publication of these two reports, Invest Europe is demonstrating European private equity’s clear outperformance while supporting the drive to more consistent and robust performance metrics that can enable investors to compare assets more easily.”

Invest Europe’s report on benchmarking public and private markets investments analyses the different metrics available for measuring private equity fund performance. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the internal rate of return (IRR), multiple of invested capital (MOIC) and public market equivalent (PME).

The report identifies the modified public market equivalent (mPME), one of the second-generation PME metrics developed by investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates, as an additional and sophisticated tool for assessing private equity performance. mPME enables investors to take account of the effect of holding periods on investment performance and separate the intrinsic performance of the fund manager from the general evolution of markets. It also helps address the challenge of assessing the performance of active funds, that are conservatively valued during their lifetimes, against public equities.

Invest Europe’s performance report measures European private equity returns against relevant stock market indices, as well as private equity funds from North America and the rest of the world on a range of metrics.

The results show that for time horizons of 10 years and over, European buy-outs have routinely delivered an annualised IRR of between 15.00% and 15.50% net of fees, while mid-sized buy-outs generated the best returns of 16.65% over the long term and outperformed the MSCI Europe index by the widest margin.

European venture capital returned a net IRR of 16.79% over a 10-year horizon, performing on a par with North American funds over the same period, while the European growth capital private equity segment performed consistently strongly, generating an annualized IRR of 13.28%, outperforming the MSCI Europe which returned 7.32% over the same timescale.

The Performance of European Private Equity Benchmark Report 2019’ and ‘Benchmarking Public and Private Markets with the Public Market Equivalent (PME)’ are available to Invest Europe members. To request a copy of the reports, please email

Media enquiries For more information please contact

Eric Drosin Image

Eric Drosin


Communication Director


What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer or phone?

You can accept or refuse cookies. Accepting cookies is usually the best way to make sure you get the best from a website.

Most PCs automatically accept them but you can change your browser settings to restrict, block or delete cookies if you want. Each browser is different, so check the 'Help' menu of your particular browser (or your mobile phone's handset manual) to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Many browsers have universal privacy settings for you to choose from.

Help on how to set and customise your cookie settings for your browser

How to manage cookies in Internet Explorer

Cookie settings in most versions of Internet Explorer can be found by clicking the tools option and then the privacy tab.

How to manage cookies in Firefox

Cookie settings in Firefox are managed in the Options window's Privacy panel. See Options window - Privacy Panel for information on these settings.

How to manage cookies in Chrome

Click on the spanner icon on the toolbar, select settings, click the under the bonnet tab, click on content settings in the privacy section.

How to manage cookies in Opera 

You can manage cookies in Opera if you Click on settings, then Preferences, then Advanced and finally Cookies

How to manage cookies in Safari

Choose Safari, then preferences and then click security. You should then be able to specify if and when Safari should accept cookies.

To manage cookies on your mobile phone please consult your manual or handbook.

Get more help about how cookies work with specific browsers.

What happens if I don't accept cookies?

If you decline cookies, some aspects of Invest Europe site may not work on your computer or mobile phone and you may not be able to access areas you want on the website. For this reason we recommend that you accept cookies.

What happens if I delete my cookies?

If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again and some aspects of our site may not work.

What happens if I change computers or mobile?

If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again.

If you'd like to learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them, visit

We can't be responsible for the content of external websites.

Opt-out of cookies


Join today

This is for members only. To view in full login or join Invest Europe today.