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Is Brent Hoberman about to stage a glorious return to IPOs with

LAUNCHPAD: The man who famously floated days before the dotcom bubble burst says he's 'looking at' returning to the public market with

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 Jul 2015

Brent Hoberman was one half of the team behind when launched a £570m IPO in 2000, days before the dotcom bubble burst and its shares halved in price – then fell to a fifth of their original value within a year.

Since then, Hoberman has done a few things – including co-found, the trendy furniture website which allows users to buy straight from designers, thereby cutting out all the costs associated with retailers.

Now, word is that Hoberman and his co-founder Ning Li are considering a float: Hoberman told the FT that ‘yes, banks [are] looking at our options. But if and when we do IPO [is] not yet determined’.

Were the website to float, it would be a brave move, when you take into account the fates of recently-IPOd tech stocks (King: down 14.7% since its flotation; Just Eat: down 13.4%; AO World: down 14%). The market for new listings is all but saturated – even Saga, which had very strong demand for shares among its members, has chosen to price its offering at the lower end of its 185p to 245p range, just in case.

It’s difficult to tell how would do: we have no idea what its finances are like (although Hoberman told the FT that it ‘is doing well. Focused on international and UK growth’). Considering it’s already launched in Italy and France, that’s probably the case. But you can’t help but wonder whether, given all the talk of a bubble at the moment, history might repeat itself…

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