Private equity kings back on the march

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The Independent Online

Private equity firms have bounced back to life this year, with the value of buyouts rising by almost a quarter in 2012. The total of deals completed in the UK has risen 23 per cent to £15.7bn, according to Ernst & Young, compared with £12.7bn in 2011.

The bonanza includes Vista Partners' £1.2bn deal for technology group Misys, one of the biggest of the year.

Christian Marriott, a partner at Equistone Partners Europe, pictured, said: "The UK buyout market has remained robust in 2012, outperforming its continental European neighbours by both volume and value of deals. Notably, there has been positive growth in the lower mid-market offering excellent deal opportunities over the course of the year.

"The UK market's resilience is in part due to the willingness of the banks to offer financing for quality assets with promising growth potential."

The number of completed private equity deals reached 189, compared with 187 the year before, with the average value reaching £84m. Private equity activity has accounted for approximately 82 per cent of UK M&A activity this year, Ernst & Young said.

Despite the rise in buyouts, the funding environment remains tough for private equity firms with a separate survey from Grant Thornton showing that most firms believe the outlook is either "negative" or "very negative".