Inside Track: Don’t fret: there’s no doubt the deals are on their way

David Hellier
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ONE banker told me the pipeline for new issue deals is as big as he has seen it over the past decade.

While another deal-maker says he’s been getting up at 4.30am every morning. And that’s not to watch re-runs of The Wire or Mad Men. It’s the only way to get his work done.

The strange thing with this period is that there is masses of work being done, but it is mainly behind the scenes. Many of the companies that are set to float over the course of the year, barring a major market correction, have December year-ends and therefore they still need a few weeks more to get the numbers sorted before they plan their route to market.

But bankers confirm that many of the names that have been mentioned as flotation candidates, such as House of Fraser, Pets at Home, Saga, Fat Face and Just Eat are all likely candidates, alongside countless others whose names have not yet been divulged.

Those behind London’s tech City are increasingly confident that Just Eat will float in London and become the flag bearer for a new publicly-quoted sector.

London’s infrastructure has been criticised in the past for its lack of an ecosystem for technology groups but a loosening of the listing rules at the London Stock Exchange and a lot of political pressure has combined to make a London listing a distinct possibility for Just Eat. Even if it is being advised by two US banks, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Bankers’ awards ThomsonReuters had no trouble attracting 1,200 bankers to its gala IFR awards dinner at London’s Grosvenor House hotel earlier this week despite it clashing with events in a certain Swiss ski town.

Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs’ president and chief operating officer and the bank’s eternal number two, collected the main award for the evening before dashing off to Davos.

The most entertaining part of the evening, as ever, (as well as seeing the excellent Alexander Armstrong) was watching the banks fight over getting top position on the interactive tombstone, with money from the auction going to Save the Children.

Goldman Sachs bid £450,000 for top spot in an auction that raised £1.07m for the charity, close to an all-time high. Bidders were cajoled to give as much money as they could by the irrepressible comperes Jonny Gould and Natasha Kaplinsky.

One bank notable for its absence on the tombstone, and the event itself, was JP Morgan, which has pulled out of awards that require pitching for (as these do). It is sad not to have the bank there. It really was an uplifting occasion for the industry as a whole.