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Private Equity and Its Regulation in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2011

Jennifer Payne
Affiliation:
Reader in Corporate Finance Law, University of Oxford.
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Abstract

In the fifteen year period to 2008, the private equity industry grew enormously in Europe, to the point where it began to be seen as a rival to the public markets. This gave rise to concerns and calls for the private equity industry to be regulated. The financial crisis, and in particular the contraction of the market for debt prompted by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, has led to a significant reduction in the number and value of private equity deals. However, if anything, the financial crisis has led to increased calls for regulation of the industry. This paper examines the development of private equity transactions in Europe, and analyses the nature of these transactions. It then considers whether the concerns raised in relation to private equity are justified. Broadly, the arguments in favour of regulation of private equity may be divided into two kinds: the need to increase transparency in the industry by imposing disclosure obligations, and systemic risk concerns. These arguments are considered, and the terms of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) are examined in the light of these issues. It is argued that the arguments in favour of regulation of private equity are weaker than has been suggested and that this Directive does not adequately differentiate between hedge funds and private equity when imposing this regulatory regime.

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Copyright
Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2011

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