In 2004 American acquirers entered the Continental European mid-market arena, both from the corporate and the private equity side.
In Holland alone, firms such as KKR have acquired the leading Dutch retail chain (Vendex KBB), APAX acquired the leading Dutch newspaper group (PCM) and Blackstone invested in satellites (New Skies Satellites). Deal values are ranging from a few hundred million to 2 billion euros.
The same is true for recent deals in Germany, France and Italy.
In all countries, a stunning silence from Works Councils, unions and politicians accompanied these deals, even though national icons were acquired by American private equity players.
Governments and institutional investors in Continental Europe realize that things have to change in order to maintain the level of prosperity. The American private equity …