Flotation nation: 10 UK companies considering IPOs in 2014

The IPO rumour mill is grinding faster as the economy moves up the gears - the likes of Poundland, House of Fraser and TSB are all planning to go public.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 22 May 2014

1. Game Group 

Value: £100m - £200m

Owners: Capitex Holdings. Directors are private equity group OpCapita owner Henry Jackson and Jim Shinehouse (both were directors at now-defunct Comet’s parent company).

Advisers: As yet unconfirmed

Less than two years after going into administration, video game retailer Game could be returning to the stock market later this year. Sales rocketed 83% in the six weeks to January 4, while the rest of the games market rose 50%. The company is more svelte than it was when it entered administration: it has 320 stores, down from 600.

2. Poundland 

Value: £700m - £900m

Owners: Private equity company Warburg Pincus

Advisers: Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Rothschild and Shore Capital 

The discount retailer has over 450 shops, with an eye on the 1,000 mark, as well as European expansion. Last year sales climbed 15% to £880m, as consumers continued to snap up bargains even as the economy began to get its mojo back. The chain could file for an IPO as soon as next month, ready to list in March.

3. Saga

Value: £3bn

Owners: Private equity groups Charterhouse, Permira and CVC. Staff also own an estimated 20%.

Advisers: STJ are advising; banks yet to be appointed.

The insurer for the over-50s is looking to tap its 2.7 million customers: Andrew Goodsell, chief exec of its parent company, Acromas, is due to feature in this week’s Saga magazine to invite them to share a slice of the pie before listing in the next few months. Saga, which turned over £1.2bn in 2012, first asked its customers to buy it in 2004, with 155,000 people bidding a total of £777m. The insurer is presumably hoping for more enthusiasm - or at least a bit more cash - this time around.

4. House of Fraser

Value: £350-£450m

Owners: 49% is owned by representatives of failed Icelandic banks and 20% by the family of chairman Don McCarthy. Scottish businessman Tom Hunter and Lloyds are also big shareholders

Advisers: HSBC and Numis

The department store is in talks with French counterpart, Galeries Lafayettes, about a possible takeover bid - but could thumb its nose at the Parisians with a public listing, potentially next month. It would be the third time House of Fraser, which reported sales up 7.3% annually in the three weeks to December 28, has floated.

5. Pets at Home 

Value: £1.5bn

Owners: Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)

Advisers: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merilly Lynch and Nomura, alongside KKR’s in-house advisers.

Pooches are bringing in the pounds – Pets at Home’s sales were up 9.9% in the year to March 2013, to £598m. Private equity giant KKR should make a tidy profit after filing for an IPO as soon as February, having bought Pets at Home for £955m four years ago. Miaow indeed.

6. Zoopla 

Value: Up to £1.3bn

Owners: Shareholders include Daily Mail Group, Atlas Venture and Octopus Ventures.

Advisers: Credit Suisse 

Property website Zoopla is thinking about cashing in on the frothing housing market, as it closes in on its larger rival Rightmove. Housing IPOs have done pretty well lately – Foxtons has risen 31% since floating in September, and jumped 20% on its opening day.

7. Fat Face 

Value: £400m

Owners: Private equity group Bridgepoint

Advisers: Lazard, Citi and Jefferies. Canaccord Genuity may be appointed as well. 

Clothing chain Fat Face, which started out selling t-shirts in the French Alps back in 1988, had a cheery Christmas. Its sales rose 5% in the five weeks to January 4, after it decided not to discount before Boxing Day. Looks like 2014 could be pretty good too. The listing is due to happen in the ‘next few months’, reckons Sky News City schmoozer Mark Kleinman.

8. TSB 

Value: £1.5bn - £2bn
Owners: Lloyds Banking Group (33% owned by the taxpayer)
Advisers: Citi and JP Morgan

Lloyds is being forced by the European Commission to sell TSB and its 631 branches in return for being bailed out by the government to the tune of £20bn back in 2008. The sale was meant to go through by November 2013, but the Co-op’s takeover fell through - so the stock market it is, probably in the next few months.

9. B&M Bargains

Value: Over £1bn

Owners: Majority-owned by investment firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R)

Advisers: TBC… 

CD&R had owned B&M Bargains, the discount retailer chaired by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, for less than 12 months before it started thinking about floating back in October. Things have been a bit quiet since though – maybe waiting for fellow bargain chain Poundland to leap first?

10. DFS

Value: Up to £1bn

Owners: Majority-owned by private equity firm Advent International

Advisers: Potentially nowt. 

Sofa giant DFS - it of the longest sale in history - was rumoured to be plotting an IPO last September, after reporting sales were up 8% in the nine months to April. It then reported a year of record revenues, but things have gone silent on the flotation front – a ‘well-placed source’ (that old chestnut…) even dismissed the idea outright, according to Retail Week.

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