Report – Style and substance: The growth of private equity in Italy
Italian PE market delivers strongest performance on record in 2018

The Italian private equity (PE) market posted record-breaking figures in 2018, with total deal value and volume for the year coming in at €17.6 billion and 149 deals, according to a new report from Italian law firm Gatti Pavesi Bianchi (GPB) and Unquote.
Value has been driven by a number of megadeals, with four Italian deals worth more than €1 billion taking place between 2018-Q1 2019, including CVC Capital Partners’ €3.03 billion take-private of pharmaceuticals company Recordati.
Another key deal driver has been business succession, as a generation of the country’s great entrepreneurial families, who built up their companies into business dynasties post-war, approach retirement.
Challenges persist in the form of the economic and political uncertainties facing Italy’s dealmakers. However, this uncertainty has also created a space for PE firms to prove themselves as capital providers as pressure on banks has driven businesses to look elsewhere for financing partners.

Further findings include:

  • The strength of Italy’s industrials and consumer goods sectors continued last year, with industrials accounting for the highest deal value percentage (33%) and consumer for the highest deal volume (32%).
  • PE activity in the Italian good and services space looks set to remain strong this year, with many family-owned SMEs continuing to produce internationally-renowned products.
  • Italian companies are attracting an average multiple of 10×2 from inbound buyers, according to investment bank Baird; with high prices for assets driving strategies leading firms to exit and crystallise value.
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