Where’s The Exit? New Opportunities in China for PE Firms

July 24, 2015

It has long been a well-established exit route in developed markets for a private equity firm to sell its interest in a portfolio company to a listed company in exchange for shares in that listed company. Until recently, this was not a route that was used by acquirers that are listed on the local Chinese stock exchanges, and with more than 2,700 companies listed on such stock exchanges (each a “listco”), this has effectively shut out a financing route for many potential acquirers. A key reason for this relates to the weaker capital markets in China, which meant that this was not necessarily an attractive route for private equity sponsors. However, with a deepening of China’s A-share market, this has become a more attractive route, although it has been unclear how, on account of regulatory constraints, this could be achieved for foreign sellers. A recent transaction has thrown interesting light on this issue.

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