Page 57 3. The venture capital and buyout markets in the UK and Europe Mike Wright and Ken Robbie Introduction The European venture capital and buyout markets have experienced considerable growth since the early 1980s, though this development has been uneven between countries. Among European countries, the UK has the largest and longest established venture capital and buyout markets. By 1996, the UK market had raised a cumulative total of ECU 25.7 billion, which accounted for 43.7 per cent of the European total venture capital raised (EVCA, 1997). Similarly, the UK buyout market is as large as that for Europe combined (Initiative Europe/CMBOR, 1997). Given its importance, this chapter focuses primarily on an analysis of the UK venture capital and buyout market. Developments in Continental Western Europe are analysed in comparison with the UK position. The highly competitive market conditions of the late 1990s, especially in the UK, in an environment of a plateauing of the growth in demand for venture capital from entrepreneurs, increasing attention by funds providers for high returns on their investments and an emphasis on buyout type investments, highlights the importance of analysing the trends and prospects for the industry as the millennium approaches. The chapter draws on a number of sources of information, which include both secondary data sources and literature as well as original field research. Extensive use is made of analyses provided for the authors by the British Venture Capital Association of trends in the UK market...
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