Purpose – The aim of the study was to make a diagnosis of the situation in the field of development the private equity funds which are essential sources of funding for modern enterprises. Analysis of investments and divestments of private equity funds in Europe and in Poland became the subject of the study. Design/methodology/approach – Analysis of literature and comparative analysis of empirical data concerning Europe and Poland. Findings – As a result of the study emphasized the importance of the investment process of private equity funds in the development of companies and entire economies. Presented and made a comparative analysis of investments and divestments made in Europe and in Poland in the years 2007–2013. The development of private equity funds and the volume of capital, which they have acquired in recent years, has meant that their investments have achieved worldwide range and recorded a rapid increase in the value of assets which were under their management. Originality/value – The article focuses on the investments and divestments of private equity funds in Europe and in Poland, taking also into account the impact of the economic crisis. It was pointed to their growing importance in financing businesses.