The connector

Personal networks, relationships and access to the right people at the right time are essential no matter where in the world private equity transactions are being pursued. But private equity investors and their financiers, familiar with the whole of Europe's commercial fabric, say there are few countries where being part of the country's inner circle is more important than Italy. It's not as if the country can't deliver exceptional deals when the ingredients are right: witness the ‡5.65 billion buyout in June last year of Seat Pagine Gialle ? Europe's biggest buyout ever and recently voted by our readers as the 2003 European Buyout of the Year. So how does private equity work in Italy? Philip Borel asks Gianfilippo Cuneo, someone who can talk about private equity Italian style with insider's knowledge, to share his views.