The French and German economies have been seen in recent years to be some of the most influential players in the eurozone, and both countries remain in the eye of the business media as the region recovers from the financial crisis.
In terms of number of private equity firms, both Germany and France are major players in the sector, having the fourth and fifth most firms in the world respectively. Germany’s 236 private equity firms have raised an aggregate €20bn in the past decade, whereas France’s 210 private equity fund managers have collectively garnered a much larger €74bn over the same time period. On average, a French firm has raised €354.2mn in the past 10 years, compared to an average of only €84.6mn among Germany-based firms.
However, these statistics do not tell the whole story, as the largest players in the two countries are mainly French. The top six firms from the two countries in terms of funds raised are all French, and there are only five German firms in the top 20. The largest French private equity firm is Ardian, which has collected a total of almost €26bn in the past 10 years, compared to only €1.5bn from Deutsche Beteiligungs, the largest Germany-based private equity firm. Ardian has raised €6bn more in capital commitments than the total raised by all German private equity firms in the last decade.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the French firms are based in Paris; of the 210 France-based firms, 80% (167) are based in the capital city. In Germany however, Berlin is not the most prominent city for private equity activity in terms of the number of firms headquartered there. Only 10% (24) of the private equity firms in Germany are based in Berlin, with Munich having the largest concentration at almost 28% (65).
According to Preqin’s Fund Manager Profiles online service, Germany does have more firms with at least a partial focus on venture capital (155) than France (117). France on the other hand has more firms that concentrate on buyout investments as part of their strategy. France’s 99 private equity buyout firms have collected over €63bn compared to €11bn from the 73 German firms following a buyout strategy. 117 French firms focusing on venture capital opportunities as part of their investment strategy have collected almost €42bn compared to less than €7bn from Germany’s 155 private equity firms targeting these opportunities.