Argos Index®

The mid-market reference

Argos Index 3rd Quarter 2022


Main Conclusions

The Argos Index® is stable at 10.0x EBITDA despite market turmoil

The Q3 2022 Argos Index® was stable at 10.0x EBITDA, in line with the average of the past five years.

This apparent stability conceals the divergence between the high end of the market, where multiples are still above 12x EBITDA, and the lower end were multiples decreased by 0.8 EBITDA point to 8.9x EBITDA. Large, quality assets with stronger pricing power are seen as more resilient during periods of crisis.

This stability contrasts with the geopolitical and financial deteriorating context and stock market turmoil (1). The alignment that created an historically good M&A environment (low interests, abundance of capital, and economic growth) has shifted in 2022 and continues to worsen in Q3. With global inflationary pressures building, interest rates rising at historic speed, and economic activity on the brink of a recession, the long upward M&A cycle seems has reversed (2).

However, the impact of these adverse conditions on the Eurozone M&A mid-market prices and activity (down 11% in Q3 but stable in value) looks moderate at this point. The mid-market remains highly competitive and continues to benefit from large capital flows to unlisted companies (3). Both strategic buyers and private equity firms are looking to take advantage of market volatility, that many see as cyclical rather than structural, to find attractive growth opportunities.

It should be noted that the Index’s component sectors were stable this quarter and did not impact the Argos Index®, as was the case in the Covid crisis.

(1) The EURO STOXX® TMI Small declined 9.4% in Q3 2022 and 25% since Q3 2021.
(2) Global M&A activity declined 34% in value and 24% in Europe in the first 3 quarters 2022 – Source: Refinitiv.
(3) Buyout dry powder is estimated at €181bn by InvestEurope, although global PE funds raised were down 50% in Q2 2022 (vs. Q2 2021) according to Preqin.

Argos Index® mid-market Median EV/EBITDA multiple on a six-month rolling basis
Source: Argos Index® mid-market / Epsilon Research

Prices paid by PE funds and strategic buyers are both stable

As reflected by the Argos Index, both financial and strategic buyers multiples are stable in Q3. Multiples paid by strategic buyers are still at 9.9x EBITDA, the same level since Q4 2021, and were not affected by the continued contraction in equity markets.

Multiples paid by investment funds are also stable at 10.7x EBITDA this quarter. It is still 0.8x EBITDA higher than strategic buyers: this is mainly due to funds investing in larger, high-quality companies, with higher multiples: 50% of the LBO transactions in the Q3 Argos Index were in the high end of the mid-market (> €150m) vs. 30% of strategic buyers.

Private Equity continues to play a leading role on the M&A market: the LBO volume activity was stable this quarter (compared to Q2), and its share within the mid-market increased to 19% (see part 4.)

Despite the more difficult LBO financing conditions (interest rates hikes, banks’ increased selectivity) and downward revision of growth forecasts, funds continue to benefit from record levels of money available for investment (see part 1.) and new financings such as private debt.

Enterprise value / historical EBITDA
Source: Mid-market Argos Index© / Epsilon Research

Transactions at multiples > 15x back to pre-Covid levels

Transactions at multiples > 15x EBITDA in Q3 2022 are in line with previous 2022 quarters: they now account for 12% of analysed transactions, at their pre-Covid level.
Share of transactions at multiples >15x EBITDA Argos Index™ sample Source: Mid-market Argos Index© / Epsilon Research
The share of transactions at multiples < 7x EBITDA accounts for 16% of analysed transactions, in line with its 5 years average.
Share of transactions with multiples < 7x EBITDA and > 15x EBITDA Argos Index™ sample Source: Mid-market Argos Index© / Epsilon Research

Limited decline in mid-market M&A activity

M&A activity is down 11% in volume and stable in value in Q3 2022 compared with the (revised) previous quarter. The European mid-market is more resilient than the global M&A market, which decreased by 34% in value in the first three quarters of 2022 – while it was down 24% in Europe to $712bn for the same period (1). Despite significant geopolitical and financial headwinds, the M&A market is still active, and volume remains up on the average for the last M&A cycle. It is largely supported by LBO transactions whose share of the global M&A market is at a record 23% in Q3 despite a 25% fall in value.
(1) Source: Refinitiv
Eurozone mid-market activity (€15–500m) in volume and value Source: Epsilon Research / MarketIQ
Buyout funds were (relatively) more active in Q3. Their share in mid-market M&A increased in both volume and value (1).
(1) Does not include build-ups
Share of LBO in Eurozone Mid-market M&A Source: Epsilon Research / MarketIQ

Argos Index 3rd Quarter 2022

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Jean-Pierre Di Benedetto - Argos Wityu

Jean Pierre Di Benedetto

Managing Partner


Giuseppe Bonsignore - Argos Wityu

Giuseppe Bonsignore




Louis Godron - Argos Wityu

Louis Godron

Managing Partner


Karel Kroupa - Argos Wityu

karel Kroupa

Managing Partner


Gilles Lorang - Argos Wityu

Gilles Lorang

Managing Partner


Coralie Cornet - Argos Wityu

Coralie Cornet

Head of communications


Jacqui Darbyshire - Argos Wityu

Jacqui Darbyshire

Chief Financial Officer


La Compagnie Des Desserts - Argos Wityu
La Compagnie Des Desserts - Argos Wityu
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Foodservice industry

Revennues : 50M€


Moro - Argos Wityu
Logo - Argos Wityu

Foodservice industry

Revennues : 40M€


Sasa Demarle - Argos Wityu
Logo - Argos Wityu

Foodservice industry

Revennues : 30M€