Publications

- November 1, 2019: Vol. 12, Number 10

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Private markets go public: Infrastructure capital markets activity tilting back to privatization

by James Wallace

Capital markets activity within the infrastructure sector, including mergers, acquisitions and privatizations of listed companies, has accelerated in the past three years as the competing incentives for public-market listings tilt in favor of privatization as the cycle matures. The privatization drivers are familiar — global investors migrating from fixed income in the search for yield and for long-term capital to match liabilities — but the strategies are complicated by the sheer scale of the sector’s listed companies.

The global infrastructure sector is comprised of a relatively small number of very large companies. In the listed sector, for example, as captured by the Global Listed Infrastructure Organization’s (GLIO) Global Listed Infrastructure index, 140 companies have a combined market capitalization of approximately $2.5 trillion. These companies span regulated utilities, transportation, energy and communication infrastructure. “These are ‘mission critical

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