Exits in brief 2

  • Bookrunners for the IPO of Gala Bingo have been confirmed, with Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and UBS taking up the roles as expected. Other positions have not yet been set. Gala was purchased by Cinven and Candover in February 2003 for £1.25bn and has been an IPO candidate for some time. The flotation is now expected in the fourth quarter, though the amount to be sold by the private equity backers is still to be set. The company is likely to have a similar market capitalisation when it floats.
  • Merrill Lynch has won the mandate for the IPO of restaurant chain Pizza Express. The company is owned by private equity firm TDR Capital, which acquired it for £300m in April 2003 through a public offer. It is now looking to bring the company back to market, having made significant changes to the business, including acquiring ASK Central. The combined company is rumoured to be valued at up to £1bn.
  • Irish payments solution provider Alphyra is preparing to complete an IPO this year through Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. The company acquired German competitor EVS in February 2005, so becoming the largest payment services provider in Europe. The company is currently owned by Benchmark Capital, which is expected to reduce the shareholding it acquired in 2003. In the past two years, Alphyra has spent more than €125m on acquisitions, which are expected to have boosted revenues significantly from the 2003 level of €1.4bn.
  • Private equity firm BC Partners reduced its holding in snack and beverage company Cantrell & Cochrane on May 13 in an accelerated bookbuild. Citigroup was bookrunner on the overnight deal, which represented one month’s trading volumes, with Davy Stockbrokers as joint-lead manager. BC Partners and other shareholders that operate as a group had a total of 100m shares (30%) before the sale. The placement saw the private equity firm reduce its holding by 38m shares. The deal was priced at €3.30, a 4.3% discount to the previous close, raising €125.4m. Existing shareholders took a substantial amount of the deal and the book was dominated by UK names.
  • Investor AB sold a 2.1% stake in banking group Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) on May 18, reducing its holding to 17.5%. The deal involved 15m secondary shares priced at SKr127, raising SKr1.9bn (US$261m). Bookrunner Goldman Sachs kept the book open for just over an hour at the end of the afternoon, and bankers said that given the speed of the deal, investors were mostly focused on the discount to the market price rather than more fundamental valuation discussions. The price was a 1.9% discount to the earlier SKr129.50 close. Following the trade, the stock lagged the rising local market.