A new acquisition vehicle, launched by a group of former executives from US consumer products firm Jarden, has raised $1.25bn (£950m) in a hefty London initial public offering (IPO).
The British Virgin Islands company called J2, headed by James Lillie, Martin Franklin and Ian Ashken, will now be able to “pursue its objective of acquiring a target company or business”, it said in a statement, although it mysteriously did not elucidate on what this would be.
J2 added that its “efforts in identifying a prospective target business will not be limited to a particular industry or geographic region”.
Potential targets would have a strong competitive industry position, strong underlying free cash flow characteristics, a proven track record, a strong management team and a diversified customer and supplier base, it said.
The purchase will likely happen within the next two years, or the company would be recommended to shareholders to be wound up.
Lord Myners of Truro, a businessman who was the HM Treasury’s financial services secretary during Gordon Brown’s government, will chair J2.
J2’s founders have committed $100m in the placing themselves, and said they could offer any potential target business their “management expertise”, an “established deal sourcing network” and “a disciplined acquisition approach”. Between them, and together with various partners, they have deployed approximately $7bn of equity capital over the last 11 years.
Franklin, Jarden’s co-founder, stood down from the consumer products business last year along with Ashken and Lillie after it was bought by Newell Brands for $16bn.