When considering IPOs, PE buyouts and acquisitions, the last has long been the exit method of choice for VC investors active in Europe. That hasn't changed, but a little more than halfway through 2014, there seems to be a shifting trend in the way VC firms are exiting their European investments. So far this year, about 15% of the 149 completed VC exits in Europe have been by way of initial public offerings, according to the PitchBook Platform. When looking at the two-year period of 2012 to 2013, that percentage was significantly lower, coming in at 7%.
Furthermore, there's a large disparity between the exit types of the largest deals during the respective time periods. From 2012 to 2013, 14 of the 15 largest VC exits in Europe were acquisitions (just one was an IPO). So far in 2014, however, three of the top four exits have been IPOs. Leading the IPO charge in Europe this year have been companies like London-based Just Eat (LSE: JE), which had a £387 million ($659 million) IPO in April; Dublin-based Dalata Hotel Group (LSE: DAL), which had a €265 million ($357 million) IPO in March; and Oxford-based Circassia (LSE: CIR), which had a £200 million ($341 million) IPO, also in March.