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The Evolution of Continuation Vehicles in European Private Equity


The European private equity landscape has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, marked by the increasing prominence of continuation vehicles. These innovative structures have reshaped the traditional investment paradigm, offering private equity firms and their investors a flexible tool to extend investment horizons and unlock additional value from successful assets. This comprehensive exploration explores the dynamics of continuation vehicles in European private equity specifically, drawing insights from real-life examples, and bringing to light their utilization, benefits, and strategic implications. 

Understanding Continuation Vehicles: 

As you may have explored in some of our other blog posts this month, continuation vehicles, also known as structured secondary transactions, represent a departure from the conventional approach to private equity fund lifecycles. Rather than adhering strictly to predetermined investment horizons, these vehicles enable private equity firms to retain ownership of select portfolio assets beyond the original fund term. By facilitating the rollover of investor commitments into a new entity or fund, continuation vehicles allow for prolonged asset management and value creation opportunities. 

The Rise of Continuation Vehicles in Europe: 

Continuation vehicles in European private equity can be attributed to several factors. First, the increasingly complex nature of investments necessitates longer holding periods to fully realize value. Maturation of the private equity market and the availability of sophisticated investors have fostered a conducive environment for the adoption of innovative investment structures.  

Notable examples of private equity firms embracing continuation vehicles include industry leaders such as Triton, AnaCap, and EQT. 

Real-Life Examples:  

  1. Triton’s Continuation Fund: Triton IV Continuation Fund closed on €1.63 billion in May 2023. The fund was set up to acquire four companies from the private equity firm’s 2013 Triton Fund IV. 
  1. AnapCap’s Continuation Fund: AnaCap’s €300 million Continuation Fund launched at the end of 2023 unlocked the option of full liquidity for AnaCap’s Fund III investors and allowed for an extended hold period for two very successful investments in the AnaCap portfolio – MRHT and GTT. 
  1. EQT’s Continuation Fund: In January 2022, EQT’s VIII fund and a number of co-investors acquired the EQT VI fund’s investment in WS Audiology. Kasper Knokgaard, Partner at EQT said of the transaction, “EQT Private Equity is therefore proud to renew its long-term support for WS Audiology alongside its other co-investors.” Fund fact – the Ascension Advisory team worked with WS Audiology a few months ago to structure a lucrative sale leaseback transaction of the Widex USA division’s corporate headquarters and distribution center in New York.

The Use and Benefits of Continuation Vehicles: 

Continuation vehicles offer a myriad of benefits to both private equity firms and their investors: 

  • Extended Investment Horizons: Continuation vehicles enable private equity firms to maintain ownership of successful assets beyond the original fund term, allowing for continued value creation and optimization. 
  • Flexibility and Strategic Asset Management: By retaining ownership of select portfolio assets, firms can implement tailored strategies to drive operational improvements, pursue growth opportunities, and navigate market fluctuations.  
  • Investor Alignment and Portfolio Diversification: Continuation vehicles provide investors with the opportunity to maintain exposure to successful assets over an extended period, thereby aligning interests and preserving value. Moreover, the diversification benefits inherent in continuation vehicles contribute to portfolio resilience and risk mitigation. 

Strategic Implications and Considerations: 

While continuation vehicles offer compelling opportunities for value creation, their utilization warrants careful consideration of several strategic implications:  

  • Alignment of Interests: Ensuring alignment between the interests of the private equity firm and its investors is paramount to the success of continuation vehicles. Transparent communication, robust governance structures, and equitable fee arrangements are essential in fostering trust and alignment.  
  • Asset Selection and Due Diligence: Rigorous due diligence and strategic asset selection are critical to identifying assets suitable for continuation. Assessing factors such as growth potential, market dynamics, and operational synergies can inform informed decision-making and mitigate risks.  
  • Exit Strategy and Liquidity Planning: Developing a clear exit strategy and liquidity plan is essential for navigating the extended investment horizon associated with continuation vehicles. Proactive portfolio management, timely exits, and effective communication with investors are key components of a successful liquidity strategy. 

How to leverage the Sale & Leaseback for a Continuation Vehicle 

By leveraging a sale & leaseback transaction to unlock capital from existing assets, private equity firms can effectively raise funds for continuation vehicles, enabling them to extend their investment horizons and maximize value for their investors. 


Continuation vehicles have reshaped European private equity in recent years, offering opportunities for value creation but also demanding careful navigation of their implications on funding dynamics.  

One of the funding strategies that Ascension Advisory specializes in for European Private Equity Firms wanting to raise a continuation vehicle, is the sale & leaseback. Reach out to our team to learn more about the sale & leaseback strategy for European private equity firms.


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