A-10/15 Norwegian Agro-Food Attracting Private Equity Capital; Varieties of Capitalism – Varieties of Financialisation?

Due to the (relatively) small scale of the Norwegian food industry, Private Equity capital is deeply involved in the structural development of the sector through acquisitions and takeovers. The Norwegian social-democratic model of agriculture, with its attempts to maintain farming all over the country, struggles with comparative disadvantages in productivity and Private Equity capital is investing in direct competition with farmer cooperatives. An outline of the socio-economic characteristics of the Norwegian model as well as those of Private Equity illuminates why they both fit well together. Thus, we argue in this paper that it is the Norwegian model of agriculture, with its non-market based elements, that today attracts finance capital and discuss whether this involvement of finance capital can be considered a process of financialisation. Findings based on analysis of case studies of Private Equity buyouts into the agri-food industry suggest that the economic motives of Private Equity takeovers are based on a combination of typical industry capitalism with investments in productivity and efficiency, rather than merely financialisation. Findings are interpreted in a variety of capitalism framework combining social theory on financialisation with business school theories on Private Equity transactions. Sociologia Ruralis (2015). DOI: 10.1111/soru.12112

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