The combination of tighter money and falling valuations have led private equity sales of portfolio companies to their lowest levels since 2009. Now with some signs of thawing in markets, private equity firms are looking to exit positions and return money to investors.
It’s led to a negative cycle for the industry. The lack of exits has adversely impacted investors’ willingness to pledge money for new funds which has hampered the industry’s ability to make deals.
According to Per Franzen, the head of private capital for Europe and North America at EQT AB, “Private equity players have to face reality at some point. They need to invest remaining capital and go back to the market to raise new funds, which means a need to drive exits and improve distributions.” Reportedly, some big deals are on the horizon such as Hellman & Friedman looking to sell its energy data platform, Enervus, KKR exiting car park operator, Q-Park, and Carlyle finding a buyer for luxury watch parts manufacturer, Acrotec Group
Another consideration is upcoming elections which could complicate efforts to exit positions. This increases the urgency to make moves in the first half of the year. There are also expectations that private equity could be looking to take advantage of any dislocations or discounts as the industry has $1.4 trillion in cash on the sidelines.
Finsum: Private equity firms are looking to exit positions in the coming months in order to return cash to investors.