Private equity in Europe got off to a blistering start this year, with €158.8 billion in total deal value across 1,936 transactions—both quarterly records. Exit activity was similarly impressive, crossing the €100 billion threshold for the first time and notching its own record with more than €115 billion in aggregate.
As Europe emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, rising middle-market and micro-cap activity, combined with factors like elevated valuations and pent-up demand, are setting the stage for a lively year, according to our Q1 European PE Breakdown. Highlights include:
- Bolt-ons accounted for 70.8% of buyouts in Q1, underscoring the importance of buy-and-build strategies.
- IPOs are on pace for an annual record in total value, after notching a quarterly high of €30 billion-plus.
- Fund count and capital raised experienced a tepid start to 2021, but dry powder remains at record levels following bumper years in 2019 and 2020.