This article originally appeared on AMEinfo.
After a sharp drop in buyout deals following the global financial crisis, PE firms quickly landed a steady stream of new deals, with only minor year-to-year ups and downs.
In 2016, global buyout activity lagged 2015 levels: The number of deals declined 18 percent, and value dropped by 14 percent.
Volatility in equity markets early in the year, caused by factors ranging from China’s stock bubble burst to a drop in oil prices to uncertainty in Europe regarding Brexit, dampened buyouts. And persistently high asset prices throughout the year inhibited deal making, as noted in consulting firm Bain & Company’s newly released Global Private Equity Report 2017.
Simmering just under the market’s surface, general partners (GPs) grew even more frustrated with not finding and closing enough good deals. A recent Preqin survey of buyout GPs in late 2016 reported that 90 percent of respondents expect to deploy the same or more capital in PE investments in the coming year, yet almost 40 percent expect it will be more difficult to find attractive opportunities.
Supply of assets is not the problem. A healthy number of assets—large and small—have been coming on line in a variety of flavours, such as public companies being taken private, carve-outs of assets from large corporations or PE firms regularly scanning other firms’ portfolio companies for potential buyouts.
Gregory Garnier is a partner in Bain & Company’s Dubai office. He is the leader of Bain’s Private Equity and Digital practices in the Middle East and a core member of the firm’s Telecommunications, Media and Technology practices.