Hollywood Bowl float expected to kick off strong period for London IPO market

William Turvill
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Hollywood Bowl is expected to list on the stock exchange this Wednesday

Hollywood Bowl is set to float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this week, kicking off what is set to be an active post-summer period for the market in initial public offerings (IPOs).

“If the markets hold up, then I think we’re going to be very busy,” Mark Austin, a capital markets partner at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, told City A.M.

“The IPOs you’ve seen so far are probably just the tip of the iceberg.”

Read more: Hollywood Bowl Group aims for a strike as it announces IPO price

It also emerged over the weekend that fund manager Premier Asset Management is considering a float that could value the company at up to £200m.

Hollywood Bowl priced its initial public offering on Friday and is due to list on Wednesday, in a deal valuing the company at £240m.

It is expected to be followed by officer-worker favourite Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The American firm’s UK arm, which is controlled by private equity firm Alcuin Capital, is sending out marketing materials to City investors this week ahead of an October IPO, which is expected to value the firm at around £200m.

Last week, waste management firm Biffa, Pure Gym and Go Compare all announced flotation plans.

Meanwhile, technology company Misys is plotting a £5.5bn float, which would be London’s biggest of the year, while mobile network O2 has said it could IPO as soon as this year.

Austin said: “There is a constant flow of new companies that are contacting us and saying they’re looking to float in London.

“And they’re not just UK-only companies. They’re big international companies. Some of them don’t really have any connection at all with the UK, other than the fact they want to use London as a listing venue.”

Read more: Biffa has confirmed plans to float in London's biggest post-referendum IPO

In recent weeks, two Canada-based companies – miner Strongbow Exploration and online bingo platform Intertain – along with South African mineral explorer White Rivers, have said they plan to float in London.

“There was quite a bit of uncertainty around the EU referendum. Then once we had the decision and it went to a bit of a shock vote, people took a bit of time to take stock. But then we have got back to business as usual, really,” Lucy Tarleton, who heads PwC’s IPO origination team, told City A.M.

“For all the doom-mongering and the narrative leading up to the referendum, ultimately people have realised that an awful lot of it was a load of old fluff and ultimately the world is going to go on pretty much as before,” said Michael Hewson, a senior market analyst at CMC Markets.

Scott McCubbin, accountancy firm EY’s IPO leader, said: “We’re certainly starting to see some green shoots appear in the IPO market. Things are certainly seeming to get better.” But he added that he did not believe the IPO pipeline had yet recovered to pre-referendum levels, with a number of firms putting off float plans after the Brexit vote.

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