A year of pandemic prudence is giving way to jumbo dealmaking in Europe for deep-pocketed private equity houses.

Buyout firms have announced $29 billion of takeovers involving European companies this year, up 60% year-on-year and the most for this period on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That’s after months in which many large buyers stayed on the sidelines or focused on funnelling much-needed capital to their existing portfolio companies. Blackstone Group Inc., the world’s biggest private equity firm, and CVC Capital Partners were among those to step back.

Now, opportunities stemming from the coronavirus crisis, an abundance of cheap credit and willing sellers looking to clean up their balance sheets are creating ripe conditions for bigger deals. Soaring equity markets, meanwhile, are driving up prices.

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Source: Bloomberg

By Jan-Henrik Foerster