Oxford Nanopore Soars 47% in One of London’s Best-Ever Debuts
(Bloomberg) -- DNA-sequencing company Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. rose as much as 47% as it started trading in London, in one of the U.K.’s best-ever market debuts.
The initial public offering valued Oxford Nanopore at 3.4 billion pounds ($4.6 billion). The debut ranks among the best on record for an IPO of its size on the London Stock Exchange, on track to beat clothing retailer boohoo Group Plc’s 40% jump by the end of its opening session in March 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Oxford Nanopore is a British success story: It’s growing at an attractive 30%, and genome sequencing is a sexy and hot area to be in right now, there’s just a lot of demand for the company’s offering,” said Oliver Brown, a fund manager at R.C. Brown Investment Management Plc, who participated in the IPO.
Oxford Nanopore raised 350 million pounds selling new stock, while its backers offloaded existing shares worth 174 million pounds, according to a statement Thursday. The shares were priced in the the top half of the range at which they were marketed.
The stock climbed 42% to 604.50 pence at 9:51 a.m. from the IPO price of 425 pence.
The University of Oxford spinoff’s holders sold more shares in the IPO than planned and moved its trading debut up by one day due to high demand. The Oracle Corp.-backed company provides Covid-19 test kits to Britain’s National Health Service, and its sequencing technology has been used by researchers to characterize the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to identify and track variants.
Vote of Confidence
Oxford Nanopore has added about $1 billion to its market value since its last funding round in May, placing it among the U.K.’s most valuable startups. The IPO is an important win for London’s ambitions to boost its profile as a hub for innovative businesses.
“This will be seen as a vote of confidence for the London Stock Exchange as a worthy launch pad for both tech and pharmaceutical companies, particularly given the Nasdaq’s dominance in this space,” said Susannah Streeter, a senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc.
The company has also given Gordon Sanghera, its founder and chief executive officer, a special class of shares with extra power to block an unwanted takeover. Though panned by some investors for diluting voting rights, there are plans to allow multiple classes of shares on the LSE’s top-tier premium market.
For now, Oxford Nanopore is relegated to the bourse’s standard segment, which means it is ineligible for certain major benchmarks like the FTSE Russell indexes.
Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are global coordinators of the offering. Barclays Bank Plc, Berenberg, Guggenheim Securities, Numis Corp Plc and RBC Capital Markets are joint bookrunners
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.