Press release

17 Dec 2020

Despite economic headwinds, PE/VC investments year-to-date dropped marginally by 8% supported by large investments in Reliance Group entities: IVCA-EY report

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Related topics Private equity
  • Investments in Reliance Group entities worth US$17.3 billion accounted for 42% of all PE/VC investments between Jan-Nov
  • Year-to-date exits worth US$4.9 billion are the lowest in the last six years
  • At US$5.9 billion, fundraises recorded a 31% y-o-y decline

Mumbai, 17 December 2020: According to the IVCA-EY monthly PE/VC roundup, Jan-Nov 2020 recorded PE/VC investments worth US$41.4 billion across 852 deals, on the back of investments worth US$17.3 billion in Reliance Group entities. Exits recorded US$4.9 billion across 129 deals with open market exits accounting for 47% of all deals by value.

Vivek Soni, Partner and National Leader Private Equity Services, EY said, “Due to large investments in the group entities of Reliance Group (Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail) during  2Q and 2H2020, headline numbers for PE/VC investments in 2020 till date have been far better than anticipated, 8%decline as compared to the same period last year. However, if we were to exclude the Reliance Group entity deals, PE/VC investments in 2020 till date are at US$24.1 billion, 46% lower than the same period last year.

Sectors focused on essential goods and services like pharma, telecom, digital technology, edtech, etc. have received a major chunk of PE/VC investments while some of last year’s favourites like infrastructure, real estate and financial services have witnessed significant decline in investment flow. All deal segments recorded decline in PE/VC investments with buyouts being the most affected. Fundraising activity also saw a 31% decline between Jan-Nov 2020 as LPs remained focused on managing their larger public market portfolios and restricted their new commitments to tried and tested funds only.

Exits have reached a six[1] year low, declining by 53% on a y-o-y basis to US$4.9 billion in the Jan-Nov 2020 period. While the public markets recovery has exceeded pre-COVID levels and are at all-time highs, the catch-up in mid-caps and small-caps has only begun in the last 2 months or so.  Consequently, the IPO market has picked up momentum and we expect PE/VC exit activity to pick-up significantly in 2021 as secondary and strategic investments revive on the back of sustained demand revival and IPO’s of PE/VC backed companies.

Going forward, PE/VC investment activity in India can pick-up pace faster than expected if positive news emerges from the initial roll out of the various successful vaccines announced globally. Overall, India’s economic indicators point to a faster than expected recovery# and we remain optimistic on sustained PE/VC investment and exit activity.”


On a year-to-date basis, PE/VC investments in 2020 between Jan-Nov declined by 8% in terms of value compared to same period last year (US$41.4 billion in 2020 vs. US$44.9 billion in 2019). Headline PE/VC investment performance in 2020 was significantly propped up by PE investments of US$17.3 billion in Reliance Group entities which accounted for 42% of all PE/VC investments in 2020. If we were to exclude these one-off PE investments in the Reliance Group entities, PE/VC investments in 2020 would be significantly lower at US$24.1 billion, a 46% decline compared to same period last year. In terms of volume, number of deals in 2020 for the Jan-Nov period declined by 11% compared to same period last year (852 deals in 2020 vs. 953 deals in 2019).

One of the biggest reasons for the relative decline in PE/VC investments in 2020 (year-to-date) is the underperformance of the infrastructure and real estate sectors which attracted the highest PE/VC investment in 2019, at US$18.8 billion in the period Jan-Nov (US$20 billion for the full year), accounting for 42% of all PE/VC investments in 2019 (Jan-Nov). In 2020, these sectors have received only US$7.8 billion in investments till date, accounting for just 19% of total PE/VC investments. As a result, there has been a sharp decline in buyout activity as well, which has recorded a decline of 46% in terms of value and 40% in terms of volume. Infrastructure and real estate sectors accounted for 70% of all buyouts by value in 2019 in the Jan-Nov period.

In terms of deal type, all deal types except growth deals have recorded significant drop in investments. As stated above, buyouts were the most affected by the slowdown in PE/VC deal activity. 2020 (Jan-Nov) recorded 35 buyouts worth US$8.7 billion compared to 58 buyouts worth US$16 billion during the same period in 2019. For the period under consideration, value of buyouts in 2020 are the lowest in the last three years. Growth deals were the highest with US$22.7 billion invested across 163 deals (US$13.7 billion across 211 deals during Jan-Nov 2019). The significant increase in value of growth deals is primarily on account of the US$17.3 billion invested in entities of the Reliance Group; else, even growth deals would have declined by 53%.

Start-up investments too declined by 40% to US$4.5 billion across 530 deals (US$7.5 billion across 560 deals during Jan-Nov 2019). Private investment in public equity (PIPE) deals declined by 41% to US$2.9 billion across 53 deals (US$4.9 billion across 55 deals during Jan-Nov 2019). Credit investments declined by 10% to US$2.5 billion across 71 deals (US$2.8 billion across 69 deals during Jan-Nov 2019).

If not for mega investments in entities of the Reliance Group, YTD 2020 would have recorded a significant decline in both value and number of large deals (value greater than US$100 million). Between Jan-Nov, 2020 recorded 72 large deals aggregating to US$32.5 billion compared to 104 large deals aggregating to US$33.4 billion during the same period in 2019. 19 out of the 72 large deals in 2020 were on account of investments in Reliance Group entities (worth US$16.3 billion). In addition to the RIL Group PE investments, the other large deals in 2020 (year-to-date) include Brookfield’s acquisition of 12.5 million square feet of commercial space from RMZ Corp including its shared working space COWrks and Blackstone’s purchase of the rental income assets of Prestige Group for US$1.6 billion, on the real estate side. On the PE side, the largest deals were Thoma Bravo’s US$729 million buyout of Majesco Limited’s US business, Goldman Sachs and Varde Partners’ buyout of RattanIndia Power Limited’s debt for US$566 million and Baring PE Asia’s buyback of shares of Hexaware Limited worth US$565 million in its move to delist the company.

From a sector point of view, in 2020 (Jan-Nov), almost all sectors recorded sharp decline in value invested. Telecom, retail, education and pharma were the only sectors to record increase in value invested. Moreover, these sectors also recorded their highest ever value of investments in 2020. Telecom was the top sector with US$10 billion invested across 13 deals (10 times increase y-o-y) mainly attributable to investments in Jio Platforms, followed by retail and consumer sector with US$6.5 billion invested across 42 deals (6.7 times increase y-o-y), on the back of large investments in Reliance Retail, financial services with US$4.6 billion invested across 135 deals (47% decline y-o-y), technology with US$2.4 billion invested across 131 deals (37% decline y-o-y), pharmaceuticals with US$2.8 billion invested across 33 deals (2.3 times increase y-o-y), technology with US$2.4 billion invested across 131 deals (37% decline y-o-y), and education with US$2.1 billion invested across 68 deals (2.7 times increase y-o-y). Infrastructure sector that received the highest value of investments in 2019 received US$3.4 billion across 26 deals in Jan-Nov 2020 (75% decline y-o-y).


For the period Jan-Nov, exits declined by 53% in terms of value in 2020 (US$4.9 billion vs. US$10.3 billion in 2019) and is the lowest value in six years for the period under consideration. In terms of volume, exits declined by 13% compared to 2019 (129 deals in 2020 vs. 148 deals in 2019). The decline was mainly due to fewer large deals.

Exits via open market were the highest at US$2.3 billion (59 deals) in 2020 during the period Jan-Nov, 47% decline compared to same period in 2019. Exits via initial public offerings (IPOs) were second in line with US$1.1 billion recorded across four IPOs (US$247 million across seven IPOs during Jan-Nov 2019), which includes the US$1 billion SBI Cards partial exit by Carlyle. Exits via strategic sale recorded US$1 billion (42 deals) in Jan-Nov 2020, 39% decline compared to same period in 2019. Exits via secondary sale (sale to other PE funds) recorded US$167 million (15 deals) in Jan-Nov 2020, their lowest value in over six years.

From a sector perspective, financial services recorded the highest value of exits during Jan-Nov 2020 (US$2.1 billion across 34 deals) accounting for 43% of all exits by value.


The period Jan-Nov, 2020 saw US$5.9 billion in fundraise; 31% lower compared to same period last year (US$8.5 billion in 2019). There were only 12 fundraises of over US$100 million in 2020 (year-to-date) compared to 25 in the same period last year. The largest fundraise in 2020 saw Sequoia raise a US$1.4 billion venture fund for investments in India and Southeast Asia followed by Edelweiss Asset Management’s US$900 million fundraise for structured debt investments.

[1]. India Economic Pulse - economic indicators and policy measures

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About IVCA

The Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (IVCA), is the apex body promoting the Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) in India and promotes stable, long-term capital flow (Private Equity (PE), Venture Capital (VC) and Angel Capital) in India.

With leading VC/ PE firms, institutional investors, banks, corporate advisers, accountants, lawyers and other service providers as members, it serves as a powerful platform for all stakeholders to interact with each other. Being the face of the Industry, it helps establish high standards of governance, ethics, business conduct and professional competence.

With a prime motive to support the ecosystem, it facilitates contact with policy makers, research institutions, universities, trade associations and other relevant organizations. Thus, support entrepreneurial activity, innovation and job creation.