The Italian private equity market holds firm despite global headwinds
Following a record-breaking 2018, the report finds that while deal value in the first three quarters of 2019 fell to €9.5 billion (compared to €18.6 billion in the same period of 2018), deal volume rose 2.6% – from 114 to 117 deals.
The most prosperous year for the Italian PE market on record was always going to be a hard act to follow, however, 2019 has been up to the challenge.
The first three quarters have shaped up very well in terms of volume, with total deal numbers marginally higher than those for the same period in 2018.
The Italian private equity market has remained solid at a time of growing global challenges and despite economic growth in Italy has remained slow.
- Megadeals are on the decline. The three largest transactions in 2018, all of which were €1 billion-plus trades, had a combined value of over €9 billion; so far this year the top three had an aggregate value of €2.9 billion. The same trend can be seen in Europe as a whole.
- Family businesses forge ahead. Three of the top five private equity deals in the first nine months of 2019 were for family businesses, including Carlyle’s €1 billion purchase of the Forgital Group.
- Three sectors dominated market share in Italy: consumer goods, industrials and healthcare. In terms of volume, the consumer goods and industrial sectors together accounted for more than half of all deals between 2018 and 2019. In value terms, healthcare claims the greatest share; the sector constituted almost a third (29%) of euro invested between 2018 and 2019.
- M&A activity matches this year’s PE — volume is robust while value has slipped. Deal volume has held up well in 2019, with 444 deals for the first three quarters of the year compared with 480 in the same period last year. However, as with its PE counterpart, value has dropped — from €44 billion in Q1-Q3 2018 to €24.9 billion in 2019.