Globally, there were 2,866 private equity-backed buyout deals with an aggregate value of $254.6bn in 2012. In terms of the number of deals and aggregate deal value, North America continued to be dominant region for private equity-backed buyout deals in 2012, with the region accounting for 53% of the volume and 60% of the global aggregate value. In 2012, North America witnessed 1,590 private equity-backed buyout deals valued at $152.3bn, which is the highest number of private equity buyout deals in any year since the outbreak of the global financial crisis. This post-2008 peak in terms of both volume and total value of buyout deals in North America is a clear indication of the continued importance of the region in relation to the resurgence of the private equity market globally.
Continued market uncertainty in the opening quarters of 2012, as a result of the European sovereign debt crisis, led to another difficult year for the European region, especially in terms of the number of deals in the first half of 2012. Q1 2012 saw only 212 private equity-backed buyout deals valued at $12.3bn, which is the lowest level of number and aggregate value of deals since early 2010. However, in the last quarter of 2012, aggregate deal value picked up from $13.9bn in Q3 2012 to $24.5bn, a noteworthy 69% increase over Q4 2011 activity.
Signs of improvement in the European deal market and a continuation of the strong North American deal-flow from 2012 gives reason to venture that there will be a positive start to 2013, despite the continuing uncertainty over the global economy.