WSJ report says private equity to make a comeback in Spain, Italy

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Nov 25, 2013 02:17 AM EST

A report from The Wall Street Journal said private equity may soon be making a return to Spain and Italy. Citing figures from several sources with knowledge of the matter and data provider Preqin, at least 15 private equity firms that has been looking for investment opportunities in these two countries are seeking to raise total funds worth over EUR 4 billion or USD 5.4 billion. Compared with the EUR 1 billion raised since the beginning of 2010, the target amount is more substantial, the report said.

Citing data provider Dealogic, the report said private equity firms used to be very active in the Spanish and Italian markets from 2005 to 2008. However, the financial crisis, as well as the problems in the Euro Zone had caused private equity firms to lose their interest in the two countries. Dealogic estimated that buyouts in Italy and Spain from January 2010 to November 13, 2013 totaled only USD 34.9 billion. This was a decline of 45% in activity as well as 46% drop in value compared to the time when private equity investments were at a high in the two countries.

Two sources told The Wall Street Journal that Milan-based Clessidra SGR intends to raise up to EUR 1 billion for a fund focused on Italy. Clessidra is the biggest buyout company in Europe as far as amount of funds raised in the last 10 years is concerned. People also told The WSJ that N+1  Mercapital also wants to roll out a EUR 500 million fund next year to focus on mid-sized Spanish firms that have the potential to grow abroad.  

Preqin said the two firms and other Europe-based private equity firms like Qualitas Equity Partners SGECR SA, Corpfin Capital Asesores SGECR SA, Portobello Capital Gestión SGECR SA, Ambienta SGR and Consilium SGR are already in the pre-marketing stage or have started to raise EUR 1.6 billion in funds total to invest in Spain and Italy.

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