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European buyouts soar in third quarter – Reuters

European private equity buyouts worth 19.7 billion euros ($26.65 billion) were completed in the third quarter, according to data from Center for Management Buyout Research, the strongest three months since 2010.

While the number of deals was down slightly on the previous quarter, the value was up by 129 percent, driven by five deals over 1 billion euros including the 3.3 billion euro buyout of Germany’s Springer Science+Business media.

That made it the highest quarterly value for private equity deals in Europe since the fourth quarter of 2010.

“A number of indicators are suggesting confidence is high in the buyout market, with a combination of availability of debt and recently raised funds benefiting overall market activity,” said Christiian Marriott, Investor Relations Director at Equistone Partners Europe Limited, who sponsored the report along with Ernst & Young.

The German market accounted for 9 billion euros of deals, the highest quarter there since the first three months of 2007 and overtaking the usually dominant UK market.

“The German economy is probably the strongest in Europe … people are feeling comfortable investing in Germany,” said Sachin Date, Private Equity Leader for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at Ernst & Young.

The combined value of exits and refinancings so far this year has outstripped the value of new deals in Europe, the data showed, helping to free up investment resources for new deals.

“Whether this upsurge in activity means the European private equity industry is back in full recovery mode remains to be seen but the signs are certainly positive,” said Date.