Just Eat chows down on IPO

IPO WATCH: Jimmy Choo owner Labelux is trying a float on for size, while Alibaba snubs Hong Kong for New York.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 04 Aug 2015

IPOs are hotter than the spring sunshine at the moment. Online takeaway service Just Eat has finally put paid to months of rumours and announced plans to float in London.

The website, which launched in Denmark in 2001 and now operates in 13 countries including the UK, Canada and Spain, is planning to raise £100m in its initial float. The company declined to confirm its overall value, but reports have put it at between £700m and £900m.

A listing on the London Stock Exchange’s High Growth Segment, which is currently woefully bare of the fast-growing tech companies the capital so desperately wants to float here, only requires 10% of shares to be sold, as opposed to 25% on the main market. Chief exec David Buttress told the Telegraph that they would decide where to list in around two weeks’ time, ahead of the prospectus’ publication.

Just Eat’s revenues were £96.8m and underlying earnings were £14.1m last year, up 61.9% and 518% respectively from 2012. The platform processed 40 million orders in the UK last year and has 36,000 restaurants signed up worldwide.

‘Our purpose is to empower consumers to love their takeaway experience,’ Buttress, who's clearly been practising his Plc management speak, said in a statement. Because we are all so much stronger when we are enamoured with pizzas.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Choo could also be tottering onto the London stock market, as its owner, Swiss-based private luxury goods group Labelux, weighs up options for raising capital for the company.

Labelux, which bought the shoe company made famous in Sex and the City for £525m in 2011, will only hive off a minority of Jimmy Choo if it is floated and ‘no decision has been taken as yet’.

Investment banks are so keen to cash in on the IPO rush that they’re even hunting down potential floatees themselves. AA’s private equity owner Acromas Holdings told the Telegraph they had received ‘a number of unsolicited proposals…including one from Cenkos’.

The big daddy of IPOs this year, though, will be Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce giant has announced it is eschewing Hong Kong for New York (although it is yet to decide whether to plump for Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange) for an IPO that could raise more than $15bn (£9bn) and value the company at more than $200bn. It will join ‘China’s Twitter’ Weibo, owned by Sina, which is planning to raise $500m in a New York share sale (though the social network hasn't said how many shares that would be or at what price.

Hong Kong’s regulators apparently refused to bend their rules for Alibaba, balking at the company’s proposed structure, which would allow a group of partners to nominate the majority of directors.

Back in September, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman said, ‘We understand Hong Kong may not want to change its tradition for one company, but we firmly believe that Hong Kong must consider what is needed in order to adapt to future trends and changes.’

Missing out on this year’s biggest IPO looks bad for Asia’s financial powerhouse, however Joe Noble, writing in the FT, thinks otherwise: ‘Once the dust has settled, Hong Kong will look smart for having rejected a listing that would have undermined its entire financial sector ethos.’ Better safe than sorry, eh…

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