European PE activity continued to fall in Q4, although the decline was less pronounced than in previous quarters and, encouragingly, volume was more or less flat.
Key findings include:
- Overall European PE: European PE volume came to 547 deals, just 2% below the previous quarter but the lowest point in the past five years. Deal value continued to fall – the EUR 50bn worth of transactions was a quarter-on-quarter decline of 22% and a low not seen since the pandemic low-water mark of Q2 2020.
- Buyouts: The quarter-on-quarter change in buyout value was the weakest metric in Q4, descending 28% from the previous quarter to EUR 36.9bn. This is the lowest point in the past three years, since Q2 2020. Volume slipped by just 10% to 207 buyouts, which again is the weakest performance since the onset of the pandemic.
- Growth capital: Growth capital was an exception, deal volume rose by 7% to 321 transactions, compared with 301 in the previous quarter. Growth deal value was also up by 7%, totalling EUR 12.6bn, benefitting from its all-equity funding model.
- Early-stage: The sharpest fall in volume was in early-stage deals, which came to just 19 funding rounds, down 24% on Q3 to the lowest level in at least five years. VC deal value, however, held relatively firm. The EUR 512m invested represented a fall of just 8% on the previous quarter, but again was a five-year low.
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