Revenue growth for PE-backed assets at strongest in years, survey finds

Private equity buyout deal activity last year reached a six-year low, down 32% from its pre-pandemic peak of 2019.

Deals in the energy & materials (-18%), services (-27%) and industrials (-25%) sectors were more resilient than the number of deals across all sectors.

The data comes from private market intelligence provider Gain.pro’s inaugural report on the state of European PE.

Data for the first quarter of 2024 data showed deal count exceeding both 2023 and pre-pandemic levels.

Add-on activity also took a hit in 2023 (down 31% year-on-year). Despite the decline, the ratio of add-ons to total PE deal activity remains at a near decade high.

Close to half (47%) of PE-backed businesses employ a buy-and-build strategy (making

Exits slowed significantly in 2023 but the survey concluded that recent data suggests that exits have now stabilised.

Roughly 56% of assets that exited in 2023/24 had remained in a portfolio longer than five years.

The average holding period is at an all-time high of 5.8 years vs. 4.9 years in 2020.

Revenue growth for PE-backed assets was the strongest in years last year with PE-backed assets growing 18.8% YoY in 2023.

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