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Financialization, New Investment Funds, and LabourAn International Comparison$
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Howard Gospel, Andrew Pendleton, and Sigurt Vitols

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653584

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653584.001.0001

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An ‘Italian Way to Private Equity’? The Rhetoric and the Reality

An ‘Italian Way to Private Equity’? The Rhetoric and the Reality

(p.231) 8 An ‘Italian Way to Private Equity’? The Rhetoric and the Reality
Financialization, New Investment Funds, and Labour

Bruno Cattero

Oxford University Press

PE has been a significant development in Italy, but HF and SWF investments have been limited and without significant consequences for labour and industrial relations. Building on statistical data, three short case studies, and empirical evidence linked with the financial crisis, the thesis that there is a specific ‘Italian way’ to PE is discussed. Four types of PE are proposed: two which are antithetical to each other—‘entrepreneurial’ and ‘speculative’—and two hybrid forms—‘industrial buy-out’ and ‘financial expansion’. Given the weakness of trade unions in the private sector, limited collective bargaining at company level, and the absence of participation in the governing body of companies, trade unions have very little potential to bargain over the entry of funds into companies. They may be informed about a PE during negotiations but normally information comes after the event. At best, there may bargaining over the restructuring that follows PE investment, although, in the case studies unions were mostly unable to exert any influence.

Keywords:   Italy, financialization, new investment funds, labour, employment relations, industrial relations, work, private equity, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds

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