P.E. Interest In Italy, Spain Revives

Nov 27 2013 | 11:45am ET

After three years of steering clear of two of Europe's sickest men, the private-equity industry has rediscovered Italy and Spain.

Buyout funds focused on Southern Europe have raised more than €1 billion this year, the most since 2009. And at least 15 firms are seeking to raise a combined €4 billion to invest in the space, The Wall Street Journal reports.

By contrast, just €1 billion was raised between 2010 and 2012; between 2010 and this year, deal activity had dropped 45% in Italy and Spain, compared to the period between 2005 and 2008.

Southern Europe's biggest p.e. firms, SGR SpA and N+1 Mercapital, plan to launch new funds next year. SGR aims to raise €1 billion for an Italy-focused fund, while N+1 hopes to find €500 million for a Spanish-focused vehicle.

They are not alone: Also seeking to raise new funds in the region are Ambienta, Consilium, Corpfin Capital Asesores, Magnum Capital, Portobello Capital Gestión, ProA Capital de Inversiones, Qualitas Equity Partners and Xenon Private Equity.

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