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Divestment data analysis


2019 Key Findings

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.

3,533 European companies were exited in 2019

Divestments at cost in 2019 are down 16% from the year before to €31bn. Further, all of the previous six years have seen higher divestment totals.

The main exit route by amount was sale to another private equity firm (34%), and by number of companies was repayment of preference shares / loans or mezzanine (38%). By country of portfolio company, France & Benelux were the principal markets (38% of total divested).

Buyout divestments

Buyout divestments saw a reduction of 8% year-on-year to €23bn in 2019. 819 companies were divested, down 11% from 2018. The main exit route by amount was sale to another private equity firm (39%), and by number of companies was trade sale (24%). Business products & services was the sector with most exits by number of companies (31%).

Venture divestments

Venture divestments increased 10% year-on-year to €3bn, the highest total since 2011. 1,242 companies were divested, a 5% decrease from 2018. The main exit route by amount was by trade sale (34%), and by number of companies was through repayment of preference shares / loans or mezzanine (33%). 36% of exited companies were in ICT.

Growth divestments

Growth divestments were €5bn in 2019, a reduction of 38% year-on-year. 1,530 companies were divested. The main exit route was repayment of preference shares / loans or mezzanine, both by amount (26%) and number of companies (47%). Companies in the business products and services sector saw most exits (26%).

2019 divestments at a glance

2019 - Market statistics All private equity Venture capital(1) Buyout(1) Growth(1)
Divestments - Amount €31bn €2.5bn €23bn €5bn
Divestments - No. of companies 3,533 1,242 819 1,530
No. of firms 734 362 317 271
No. of funds 1,867 775 617 865

Source: Invest Europe/EDC

Note: (1) relates to the investment stage of the portfolio company.

In this section
Meet the team


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Julien Krantz


Research Director

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Daniel Irwin-Brown


Research Manager


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