Improving the evidence base on transfer of business in Europe

Successful business transfers ensure continuity of production and business relations, preserve employment, and uphold the value of assets. Since 99% of businesses in the EU are SMEs, it is evident that an overwhelming majority of business transfers occur within this group of companies. Business transfers are therefore a natural part of SME policy. Informed policymaking requires a solid evidence base.

However, data on business transfers are generally fragmented, often outdated, and not comparable across the EU Member States. Therefore, this study by DIW Econ on behalf of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises of the European Commission seeks to improve the evidence base on business transfers in the EU Member States.

To improve the quality and comparability of business transfer data, a common methodological approach for the collection of predictive data is proposed. The proposed approach is based on a common core questionnaire – the Survey on Business Transfers – and on an implementation and estimation approach showing how to combine the survey data with existing data from EUROSTAT to produce reliable statistics. Finally, this report provides concrete recommendations on how the collection of descriptive and predictive data on business transfers can be improved in the EU Member States.

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Final Report

Annex A

Annex B

Annex C

Executive Summary