Our point of view

Nordic Private Equity Update

30 April 2010

The first quarter of 2010 displayed a significant change in terms of deal volume and deal values across the Nordic region, examples of this include high-profile deals, such as Triton’s acquisition of Ambea, the sale of Solhagagruppen by Valedo Partners and the competing tender offer for Academedia by EQT V, all of which Hannes Snellman acted on.

On the regulatory side, the draft Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers has been the cause of intense debate and the European alternative fund community has challenged many aspects of the proposal. The directive is mainly directed at hedge fund strategies but would, in its proposed form, impose many undifferentiated provisions on private equity fund managers with more than EUR 500 million under management (a lower monetary threshold has been discussed). This would result in private equity fund managers being burdened by inappropriate and irrelevant regulations. For example, the proposed rules about accentuated portfolio company disclosure and marketing of “third-country” funds to EU-based investors do not seem to have any recognised benefit for investors in private equity funds. The Economic Committee of the European Parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposal during May 2010. The lobbying and debate is set to continue.

A more concrete clarification of the regulatory landscape affecting the private equity industry came from the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court, which recently ruled that private equity holding companies under certain circumstances can deduct goodwill in connection with streamlining of group structures. The ruling could provide interesting tax planning opportunities for private equity sponsored structures in Finland.

Sten Olsson, sten.olsson@hannessnellman.com

Roger Johnson, roger.johnson@hannessnellman.com