Sofa giant DFS draws up plans for London float

Michael Bow
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DFS, the UK’s biggest sofa chain, is lining up plans to list on the London stock market amid moves by its owner to cash in on its surging sales growth.

The company, formerly known as Direct Furnishing Supplies, has ridden out the high street downturn and retail bloodbath over the past year to post an eight per cent growth in sales for the nine months ending April.

Private equity backers Advent International, which bought the company in June 2010, is thought to have sounded out investment banks on plans to sell out of the firm in an initial public offering and is close to appointing advisers to explore options for the company.

Any float of the business, which has been a perennial fixture on TV advertising breaks for decades, could value it at up to £1bn, estimates suggest.

But executives at DFS, headed by chief executive Ian Filby, would have little say over a whether to float the business given its majority ownership by Advent.

The move would echo similar private equity exits by firms like BC Partners, who partially exited Foxtons this month by raising £355m from a float.

Private equity firm Cinven also raised £485m by partially selling out of insurer Partnership and fellow buyout shop Doughty Hanson raised £24.5m from its float of portfolio company HellermannTyton.

DFS and Advent declined to comment.

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