Permira has agreed to exit its 80% stake in agricultural supplier Netafim to plastic-pipe maker Mexichem for some $1.9 billion, opting against selling the company to a fellow private equity firm, a previously reported possibility. CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital were believed to be among the other bidders. Permira has backed Netafim since 2011, when it bought the provider of irrigation services at a reported valuation of $870 million.
The fact that CVC and Bain Capital didn’t best Mexichem’s offer is perhaps indicative of a diminishing appetite among private equity firms for companies in the B2B machinery sphere. Investors have completed
just 67 PE deals in the space so far this year, per the PitchBook Platform, on pace for a sharp decline from the 160 deals finalized last year and the 163 transactions done in 2015.
The quarter-by-quarter decrease is even starker, as you can see here:
The London-based Permira, meanwhile, has yet to complete an exit so far this year. Netafim is its third portfolio company to enter the exit pipeline during 2017, following Ancestry.com—which filed confidentially for an IPO in June, per reports—and Opodo, a travel brand that Permira and its co-investors agreed to sell in April. Until now, Permira has completed
at least five exits every year this decade, per PitchBook data.