Used-car website Auto Trader could be valued at up to £2.5bn when the company floats on the London Stock Exchange this month.
The company announced plans to float at the end of last month with a valuation expected to reach just £2bn. Auto Trader, which operates Britain’s leading website for buying and selling new and used cars, expects to be admitted to trade in March as a FTSE 250 company.
Auto Trader’s private equity owner Apax had received a £2bn takeover approach for the firm from another US private equity firm Hellman & Friedman earlier this year.
Apax initially took control of Auto Trader – then called Trader Media – from Guardian Media Group (GMG). It first sold a 49.9 per cent stake in the group in 2007, and sold the remaining 50.1 per cent in January last year. The deal valued TMG at £1.75bn. Apax intends to go ahead with the share offer targeting a free float of at least 25 percent of the company's issued share capital.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank are acting as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners.
JP Morgan Cazenove and Morgan Stanley have been retained as joint bookrunners while Numis Securities is acting as lead manager.
With the highest number of car advertisements in the UK and a 37-year-old brand, Auto Trader’s IPO could be one of the UK’s biggest listings this year.