Home Business Six Nations-backer CVC eyes launch of €15bn float this month

Six Nations-backer CVC eyes launch of €15bn float this month

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CVC Capital Partners, which also owns stakes in top-flight football rights in France and Spain, could unveil a long-awaited stock market listing in Amsterdam as soon as next week, Sky News learns.
City editor
Tuesday 9 April 2024 11:33, UK
A stock market flotation of the private equity behemoth which has owned stakes in some of Britain’s best-known companies could be launched as early as next week.
Sky News has learnt that executives at London-headquartered CVC Capital Partners are considering unveiling plans for its third attempt to go public in the Netherlands within the next fortnight, even as fresh signs of market volatility cast doubt on the prospective timetable.
A flotation could value the firm at somewhere in the region of €15bn (£12.8bn), although the figure remains uncertain and subject to investor appetite.
People close to CVC’s preparations insisted on Tuesday that they remained subject to market conditions and that there was no fixed timetable to launch what would be one of the world’s most closely watched initial public offerings of the year.
CVC, which owns a stake in Six Nations Rugby as well as the commercial rights to French and Spanish top-flight football, has been plotting a stock market listing for years.
Going public would provide the private equity group with an acquisition currency to expand and diversify its business in the same way that rivals such as publicly traded Blackstone and KKR have been able to do.
One insider said an announcement next week was „possible, although later in the month is more likely”.
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In the last week, however, the VIX index which measures volatility in US stock options has reflected increased choppiness in market conditions which could yet prevent the listing from taking place for a third time.
Recent IPOs in the US and Europe have shown mixed performance, with shares in Douglas, a fragrances retailer owned by CVC itself, falling sharply since it went public last month.
Galderma, a skincare company, has by contrast seen its valuation rise by nearly 20% since it listed in Switzerland in March.
One source said CVC and its advisers would be ready to launch the buyout firm’s IPO within 10 days but acknowledged that the prospect of a successful float was „on a knife-edge”.
Since it aborted its most recent attempt to go public in early November, the share prices of publicly quoted rivals including Blackstone, EQT and KKR have risen sharply.
CVC, founded more than 40 years ago, is one of the buyout industry’s best-known names.
It has owned UK-based businesses including Formula One motor racing, Debenhams, the AA and Saga.
The firm’s current portfolio includes extensive interests in rugby union, Lipton Teas – which it bought from Unilever – and Away Resorts.
It recently acquired Jagex, the Runescape franchise developer, from rival Carlyle.
Last year, CVC raised a €26bn buyout fund, which made it the largest such pool of capital in history.
So-called alternative investment firms such as CVC earn management fees on the money they raise and share in the profits they generate on their investments.
It currently manages around €188bn of assets, making it one of the largest players in the industry.
CVC had wanted to go public in 2022 but was forced to delay the plan because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent investor anxiety.
In February, it emerged that Donald Mackenzie, one of the firm’s co-founders and architect of its F1 investment, is retiring.
Rob Lucas, another senior figure at the firm, will steer it through an IPO as its chief executive if it proceeds.
CVC sold a minority stake in itself to Blue Owl, a specialist investor, in 2021.
Its valuation is said to have increased substantially since then as assets under management have risen.
If it does proceed with an Amsterdam float, it is likely to sell only about 15% of the company to public investors.
Investment bankers at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are working on the flotation plans.
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CVC declined to comment.
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