VC-backed exits in Europe and North America saw a significant decline during 2016. Many factors created turmoil in the public markets which resulted in the fewest IPOs since 2010, and while acquisitions continued to be the most common exit route by a wide margin, the actual number of completed transactions fell by 267 YoY. Late-stage capital in the form of "private IPOs" had been a major theme during 2015, likely pushing the need for an exit or capital raise past 2016, further adding to the decline.
The PitchBook 2016 Annual VC Liquidity deck sifts through exit datasets from Europe and North America to analyze trends that shaped the year in exits.
- The number of completed exits in 2016 declined to the lowest total since 2011, even as deal value stayed relatively strong to the past decade
- Initial public offerings were few and far between throughout the year. In the US, zero VC-backed companies completed an IPO for the first month of the year, and it wasn't until 2Q that a tech company completed an offering.
- The median acquisition size grew to $56.3 million, 40% higher than the 2015 median