Privatization Trends and Major Deals in 2015 and 2016

25 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017

Date Written: March 31, 2017


This article details major privatization deals executed during 2015 and 2016 and surveys trends shaping the privatization landscape worldwide. We document several important facts, including the following: (1) Governments raised a record $319.9 billion (€289.5 billion) through privatization sales worldwide during 2015, substantially more than the $218.8 billion (€166.5 billion) total for 2014 and easily exceeding the previous record of $265.2 billion (€184.3 billion) set in 2009; (2) The global value of privatizations during 2016, $266.4 billion (€241.4 billion) is the second highest on record; (3) Share issue privatizations (SIPs) accounted for over 95% of the total number of privatizations during 2015, and 87% of the total value while auctions, targeted stake sales, convertible bond offerings, and asset sales accounted for the rest. The corresponding figures for 2016 are 93% and 81%, respectively; (4) China was, by far, the leading privatizing country during both 2015 and 2016, raising an astonishing $173.2 billion (€158.4 billion) during 2015, and $148.0 billion (€134.0 billion) during 2016. These Chinese totals represented over half of the worldwide total for both 2015 (54.1%) and 2016 (55.6%). The United Kingdom was a distant second-leading privatizing country during 2015 [13 deals, worth $34.8 billion (€32.1 billion)], while Australia [5 deals worth $25.7 billion (€23.3 billion)] took second place during 2016; (5) The $87.1 billion (€80.0 billion) and $37.8 billion (€34.0 billion) raised by EU governments during, respectively, 2015 and 2016 represented 27.2% and 14.2% of the respective global annual totals. Both 2015 and 2016’s values are far below the long-run average EU share of 37.5% of the global value of privatizations, with 2016 hitting a historic low; (6) There were a relative handful of failed, withdrawn, and cancelled specific privatization sales during 2015 and 2016, but the political turmoil associated with the United Kingdom’s surprisingly successful “Brexit” vote in June — plus global uncertainty leading up to the US presidential election in November — forced a pause in a number of European privatization programs, especially Britain’s; and (7) The large number (903) and value [$586.3 billion (€530.9 billion)] of privatizations executed during 2015 and 2016, coupled with several massive planned sale announcements — especially Saudi Aramco’s mooted $100 billion IPO in 2017 or early 2018, suggests that the massive global privatization wave that began in 2012 continues unabated.

Keywords: Privatization, Government Ownership

JEL Classification: G32

Suggested Citation

Megginson, William L., Privatization Trends and Major Deals in 2015 and 2016 (March 31, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

William L. Megginson (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma ( email )

307 W Brooks, 205A Adams Hall
Norman, OK 73019
United States
(405) 325-2058 (Phone)
(405) 325-1957 (Fax)


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