Investors rush to grab a piece of Poundland

POUNDLAND is expected to sell shares in its stock market float at the peak price of £3 each today after a hotly contested battle to own a piece of the discount retailer.

The high street store, which sells all its items for £1, announced plans last month to float in a deal which values the chain at £750m.

Shares had originally been priced at between 250p and 300p, and a late push by investors yesterday meant the offer closed about 14 times oversubscribed, pushing the price to the top end of the range.

“In the end there were some really inflated orders for Poundland. Investors were saying they just needed exposure to that ultra low cost retail sector,” said one source.

However, a host of investors are set to miss out on the deal after it was decided that large allocations to core investors would be made instead of parcelling out small chunks to lots of different funds.

Pet retailer Pets at Home is also expected to price its forthcoming float today at 245p, while Danish cleaning group ISS will close its bookbuilding later this afternoon.

The floats are the first wave of private equity-backed firms itching to list in London this year, which include Brit Insurance and DFS.

Poundland, led by chief executive Jim McCarthy, is majority owned by Warburg Pincus, which has a 75 per cent stake in the firm. The rest is owned by management and staff.

The float is set to raise £375m, about half of the company’s market cap, when the company lists in London.

Pets at Home, meanwhile, is priced at the midway point of its range, which was set at 210p to 260p earlier last month. Investors will watch the performance of both stocks with keen interest to see whether they mirror the success of the float of AO.com last month.

Shares in the online store rose up to 40 per cent when it started trading.