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.

2017 Key Findings

  • Around 3,800 European companies were exited in 2017, similar to the previous year. By amount of former equity investments (divestments at cost), the total value was €42.7bn, a year-on-year increase of 7% and the third highest level of the past decade.
  • The most prominent exit routes by amount at cost were trade sale (35%), sale to another private equity firm (28%) and public offering (14%). By number of companies, these three exit routes accounted for almost 40% of all divestments.
  • Buyout divestments represented 76% by amount at cost and 23% by number of companies of all exits in 2017. The amount divested increased by 21% to €32.6bn. Exits by number of companies increased by 8% to 879, returning to the level of the previous strong exit years of 2014 and 2015. Most companies that were exited in 2017 operated in the business products and services sector, followed by consumer goods and services, and ICT.
  • Venture capital comprised around 31% of all divestments with nearly 1,200 companies. The amount divested at cost decreased by 7% to €2.1bn and the number of companies exited decreased by 13%. The most prominent exit route was trade sale, which grew by 12% in amount at cost year-on-year, while public offerings rose by 60%. Most companies that were exited operated in the ICT sector, followed by business products and services, and biotech and healthcare.
  • Growth divestments represented 13% of all exits by amount and 38% by number of companies. The amount divested decreased by 5% to €5.7bn, while the number of companies increased by 3% to 1,435. Of the companies that exited in 2017, most were in the business products and services sector, followed by consumer goods and services, and ICT.

Divestments – Market statistics

Divestments at a glance

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