Private Equity Firm Sets Industry’s First Big London IPO in Decades

Bridgepoint Group’s planned initial public offering in London could raise up to 907 million pounds ($1.3 billion), almost double the amount indicated when the buyout firm signaled its plans last month.

The company is still seeking 300 million pounds from new stock, while other current shareholders will offer up to an additional 489 million pounds or even more in an over-allotment option, according to terms seen by Bloomberg. The existing investors were initially expected to raise just 200 million pounds, a person familiar with the matter said last month.

After setting a price range for the shares at 300 pence to 350 pence each, the company said it’s gathered enough investor demand to cover all the stock that’s currently on offer, according to separate terms seen by Bloomberg.

In one of the biggest listings of a U.K. private equity firm in decades, the IPO could value the company at as much as 2.9 billion pounds, according to the terms. The buyout firm, which manages around 27 billion euros ($32 billion) of assets and focuses on middle-market companies across Europe, owns stakes in Burger King franchises in the U.K. and a motorbike racing business.

The proceeds of the share sale will “support Bridgepoint’s growth plans, provide greater strategic flexibility, enhance Bridgepoint’s standing as a trusted counterparty, further drive long-term shareholder returns and repay indebtedness,” according to the statement Wednesday.

If additional stock is offered to cover the over-allotment option, the deal size could rise to 907 million pounds, according to the terms.

Fidelity International, T Rowe Price Group Inc. and Mawer Investment Management have already committed to buy about 300 million pounds of the offering, the deal terms showed. The new stock is expected to start trading in London on July 21.

Middle market firms like Bridgepoint have also faced increasing pressure to diversify their offerings as they face greater competition that’s pushing up the cost of acquiring assets and pressuring returns. The buyout firm sold an undisclosed minority stake to what was then Dyal Capital Partners in 2018.

The two current largest U.K.-listed private equity firms, 3i Group Plc and Intermediate Capital Group Plc, both went public in 1994. Since then, IPOs by private equity managers have been rare in Europe and many of the largest players remain privately owned.

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