PRIVATE EQUITY IN SWEDEN: An analysis of the private equity industry in Sweden and two case studies on individual companies’ competitive strategy

PRIVATE EQUITY IN SWEDEN: An analysis of the private equity industry in Sweden and two case studies on individual companies’ competitive strategy



Private equity is a growing global phenomena and private equity companies have become a major force in many of Sweden’s industries. These companies own portfolio companies which together employs around 190 000 people and have an annual revenue of over 318 billion SEK. The purpose of this thesis was to describe and analyze the Swedish private equity industry and individual companies’ competitive strategy to increase value of portfolio companies and to attract capital. The methodical approach of this thesis was qualitative and abductive. Only public data was used bar the two interviews that was conducted with the case companies. The theoretical framework for the industry analysis was Porters five forces. The case companies were analyzed on the corporate, business and operational levels of strategy. A resource based view was used to further analyze the case companies’ strategic capabilities. The main findings from the industry analysis was that the vast majority of investors in Swedish private equity funds are made by professional institutions and a large amount of the investments were of international origin. The large pool of investors makes it easier for Swedish private equity companies to attract capital. The number of new private equity funds have been declining since 2007 but at the same time the average fund size has grown. There are many differentiating factors between private equity companies. This differentiation is beneficial for the private equity companies as they become less commoditized from the viewpoint of an investor. A private equity company’s management team will impact the performance and it is therefore essential for a private equity company to have a skilled management team. A good track record was found to be an important indicator for a skilled management team. One of the case companies, Volati, is focused on consolidating their portfolio companies in an effort to create synergies. Volati have a long-term ownership style that can be attractive to certain sellers of companies which can yield a lower valuation for Volati when purchasing a company. The other case company, Ratos, is more short-term focused and keeps their portfolio companies autonomous which limits their opportunities to achieve synergies. Ratos wants to find companies that are good standalone investments. Volati values strategic fit more than Ratos since they aim to create synergies and to consolidate their portfolio companies. Both companies are of the opinion that there are high valuations on the market right now. Despite this both companies continue to invest. Both companies increase the value of their portfolio by providing various support functions and to actively manage their portfolio companies at the top management level. Since both of them only supports their portfolio companies at the top level they don’t need a lot of manpower to manage their companies. Both companies utilize consultants to increase capacity when needed and to gain access to outside expertise. Skilled employees, good structural capital and a good reputation was found to be strategic capabilities that can make a company more attractive to both investors and to increase the value of their portfolio companies.

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