The apparent general conclusion of the Milan study is that the effect of privatisation in the UK was far less than one might expect, given the sound and fury that it generated. That would be the «much ado about nothing» hypothesis. If it was indeed simply a matter of ownership, then the Milan study makes a powerful case for it; actually, it seems instead to vindicate the view that ownership was not the main issue. Infact, the privatisation programme was about far more. If one takes into account the changes in the regulatory framework, then I would argue that what we have seen represents very much more than a minor blip. The change of ownership was the context for those changes. This is of relevance not only to the UK but more widely, and so I draw on my overseas experience to illustrate why the issues raised during the privatisation of the British utilities are indeed of lasting significance.