THE OWNER of household appliances website AO.com – previously known as Appliances Online – is understood to have hired banks to work on a £300m flotation on the London Stock Exchange.
John Roberts, the founder of DRL Limited, which owns AO.com, has reportedly hired Jefferies and JP Morgan to prepare the company for a listing.
A float could value the fridges-to-microwaves retailer at £300m and put Roberts, who owns 20 per cent of the business, in line for a £60m windfall, according to Sky News.
DRL’s main site AO.com, which recently changed its name from Appliances Online, claims to be the largest online appliance specialist, selling over 30 brands and 4,000 products.
The Bolton-based firm also runs e-commerce operations for retailers like Next and Boots.
According to the latest accounts on Companies House, DRL made a £7.1m pre-tax profit in the year to 31 March, on sales of £260m compared with £196m in 2012.
The business said it has been investing heavily in providing video content online to attract suppliers and compete with physical displays in bricks and mortar stores. Last year DRL made a bid for Comet’s web business following the group’s collapse into administration but was unsuccessful.
More recently, Roberts joined forces with online retailers including Ocado in condemning calls for an online sales tax.
Shifting the burden to online retailers “would kill entrepreneurial spirit ”, they warned chancellor George Osborne in a letter.