Argos Mid-Market Index

Acquisition prices of non-quoted European SMEs stabilized at record high level

The index has stabilised in the 3rd quarter at 9.8x EBITDA


Prices have been driven by the recovery in M&A mid-market activity in the Eurozone in the 3rd quarter, which is back to 2017 levels.

The political unrest in Europe and international commercial tensions have not yet had an impact on this dynamic.

This stabilization at a record high level of non-quoted European SMEs reflects two different evolutions.

On the one hand, prices paid by strategic buyers remain high at 9.9x EBITDA. They continue to be sustained by large quoted groups, which represent 68% of strategic buyers this quarter, and by overseas buyers (58%).

On the other hand, prices paid by private equity funds have decreased by 5% to 9.3x EBITDA. Even if prices remain at a high level, this decrease depicts strong discipline in acquisition prices paid by European fund managers. This sign of moderation is also depicted in reasonable levels of current debt leverage (debt financing reaches 50% of enterprise value vs. 65% in 2007(1), in a context where interest rates are much lower than in 2007(2)).

Despite high pricing, the non-quoted sector continues to attract investors, as witnessed by the continued increase of funds raised and dry powder (3).

The valuation multiple of quoted Mid-Market groups have decreased in the 3rd quarter to 9x EBITDA, after an upward trend since end 2011. Our next publication will confirm or otherwise if this shift has an impact on acquisition multiples of non-quoted targets.

  • Source: Goldman Sachs / Preqin as of June 30, 2018 for the whole European market (incl. large cap market and outside the Eurozone)
  • Euribor-12m at -0.158% as of October 1st, 2018 vs. 4.101% as of October 1st, 2007
  • The amount of dry powder of buyout funds is $614 billion at 30.06.18, of which $192 billion are in Europe (+4% compared to 31.12.2017) – Source: Preqin Quarterly Private Equity Update Q2 2018

Download the complete Index version: Index Argos September 2018

About Argos Wityu

Argos Wityu is an independent European private equity group with offices in Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Luxembourg, Milan and Paris. Since its creation in 1989, Argos Wityu has carried out more than 75 transactions focusing on management buy-outs and buy-ins in small and medium companies. Argos Wityu typically takes majority stakes ranging from €10m to €100m in companies with revenues of €20m to €600m.

With €960m under management, the firm has developed a track record of unusual, complex and off market transactions where the firm’s combination of local presence and international experience is able to add value to the small and medium-sized businesses it invests in.

About Epsilon Resarch

Epsilon Research developed the first online platform for the management of non-quoted M&A transactions, aimed at professionals: M&A advisers, private equity funds, valuators, corporates. The Epsilon Platform includes data, analysis reports, software tools and services essential to private company valuation / deal management:

(1) EMAT, the largest database of European private company transaction multiples, with detailed analysis of 7,500+ M&A deals, ranging from €1m to €500m in value, covering all industry sectors; (2) Indices and studies published regularly by Epsilon, such as the Argos Index; (3) Cloud-based software for M&A contacts and project management (“M&A CRM Suite”); and for valuation projects (comparables, private equity fund portfolios).

About the Argos Mid-Market Index

The Argos Mid-Market Index measures the evolution of European private mid-market valuations. Based on the median of historical EV/EBITDA multiples, on a six-month rolling basis, it is carried out by Argos Wityu and Epsilon Research, and published every three months. The transaction sample fulfils the following criteria:

  • Mid-market companies (equity value between €15m and €500m),
  • Target based in a euro zone country,
  • Acquisition of a majority stake,
  • Specific industries excluded (financial services, real estate, high-tech).


  • Argos Wityu:  Louis Godron, François Becque +33 1 53 67 20 50
  • Press: Agency toBnext – Antoinette Darpy: + 33 (0)6 72 95 07 92 –
  • Epsilon Research: Grégoire BUISSON,, Tél. +33 1 47 70 30 24

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