Northern retail deals among largest European PE exits
Transactions involving three northern retail companies were among the top 20 largest private equity exits in Western Europe in the first half of 2014, a report has found.
Taken from EY's newly launched Multiple report, data from the EY and Equistone Partners Europe-sponsored Centre for Management Buyout Research (CMBOR) shows that three northern exits had an aggregate value of €5.78bn.
The 20 biggest exits in Western Europe in the first half totalled €37.49bn.
Clayton Dubilier & Rice's €3.38bn disposal of Merseyside-headquartered B&M Retail in June was the third largest in Western Europe and the second largest in the UK, behind CVC Capital Partners, Charterhouse Capital Partners and Permira's €4.36bn exit from Acromas Holdings, the parent company of Saga and the AA.
The €1.47bn flotation of Handforth-based Pets At Home was the tenth largest exit, while Charterhouse Capital Partners' €939m exit from Wakefield-headquartered Card Factory was 20th on the list.
The north was the best represented UK region in Western Europe's top 20, followed by London with two exits, and the South East with one. These six UK deals represented a third (33 per cent) of the total value of the top 20 exits in Western Europe.
A total of 15 of the 20 largest exits in Western Europe were IPOs – including all of those involving UK companies – while three were trade sales and two were secondary buyouts.
Mark Clephan, corporate finance director at EY in Yorkshire and Humber, said: "These northern companies have focused on developing their value and specialist retail offerings to become leaders in their sub-sectors.
"The prominence of northern deals in the top 20 exits in Western Europe highlights the strength of these retail companies and their resilience throughout the downturn to achieve such high valuations on exit.
"The performance also outlines the enduring opportunity for private equity houses to support strong businesses and secure market-leading returns in the North of England."