Divestment data

Company divestments

Exit types (e.g. Trade sale, IPO, Write off) are reported by the number of companies divested and their equity amount at cost by stage, sector and geography. Divestment amounts at cost reflect the equity initially invested but do not show any profit on the investment.

2016 Key Findings

  • About 3,500 European companies were exited in 2016, representing former equity investments (divestments at cost) of €38.5bn. Despite a decrease of 15% compared with 2015, the figure is in line with the annual average since 2012.

  • The most prominent exit routes by amount at cost were sale to another private equity firm (29%), trade sale (28%) and public offering (17%). By number of companies these three exit routes accounted for more than a third of all divestments.

  • Exits from venture capital investments represented nearly 1,300 exited companies or around 35% of all divested companies in Europe. The equity amount divested increased by 13% to €2.4bn in 2016 and accounted for 6% of the amount divested at cost. Trade sale, management/owner buy-back, sale to a financial institution, and write-off were the most prominent exit routes.

  • Buyout divestments’ share of all divestments in 2016 was 73% of the equity amount at cost and 23% by number of companies. The amount divested decreased by 19% to €28.1bn, with around 800 companies exited. The figures follow two very strong exit years in 2014 and 2015 but are similar to the level recorded in 2013. Sale to another private equity firm, trade sale, and divestment by public offering were the most prominent exit routes.

  • Growth divestments represented 15% of all exits by equity amount at cost and 40% by number of companies. The amount divested decreased by 18% to €5.9bn and the number of companies decreased by 8% to 1,373. Trade sale, sale to another private equity firm, and management/owner buy-back were the most prominent exit routes.

Divestments – Market statistics

Divestments at a glance