In a report that singled out the emerging team at AXA Private Equity, its expansion and establishment in the secondary sector, unquote reviewed the very quiet year of PE activity in France. The five trends and events s of the year in PE in France from unquote are listed below.
Zephyr figures for M&A activity in France for 2012 also show a decline of activity by volume, the lowest in three years. (See Zephyr Graphic)
Unquote’s View on France
Election year: Like the US, France had an election year with a new government in place. The result of more left wing win will not be “as devastating as expected”, but the drawn-out uncertainty and the various U-turns on several key issues encouraged PE players to keep activity to a minimum.
Lacklustre dealflow: Dealflow fell by nearly a third compared to the previous year to 208 deals, and overall value took an even steeper dip to EUR 8.1 billion, less than half the previous year’s total. France came in third in Europe for overall dealflow.
Tough fundraising: For the fourth year in a row, French GPs invested more than they raised, and fundraising figures for the whole of 2012 are likely to settle at a historically low level.
Few large buyouts: There were no deals greater than EUR 1 billon mark but a couple of large-cap deals could be reported: Lion Capital acquired eyewear retailer Alain Afflelou from Bridgepoint, Apax France and Altamir Amboise in a deal believed to be valued at nearly EUR 800 million, and AXA Private Equity did a EUR 850 billion MBO of Fives Group.
AXA Private Equity goes large: closed a good number of mid-market deals and raised two funds. According to unquote data, the French GP completed 17 transactions worth a combined EUR 2.4 billion across Europe. (Image Source: Zephyr)