Website star David Buttress backs London

WHEN King.com decided earlier this year to float in New York, it appeared as if London’s larger flourishing technology companies were all headed for listings across the Atlantic, writes David Hellier.

Experts talked about the better ecosystem in New York, the plentiful technology analysts, and a fuller understanding of the sector’s growth potential.

But yesterday David Buttress, the Cardiff-born chief executive of Just-Eat, the online takeaway business, said he was confident in London as the listing venue for his fast-growing company’s shares. “I’m very happy that we will be a London-listed company in a few weeks,” he told City A.M.

Just-Eat, which is being advised by two US bulge bracket banks in JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, has yet to decide whether to go for a premium listing, where full disclosure and a free float of 25 per cent is required, or to become the first company to plump for the London Stock Exchange’s new high growth segment. This is designed to make listings easier for fast-growing UK companies to list in London by allowing them to do so with less disclosure and a smaller free float of shares.

Buttress is still keeping his options open. “I think things like the introduction of the high growth segment is helping high growth companies to choose London, but I want to have optionality on this... We meet the criteria for the premium listing so we will decide in a couple of weeks.”

Just-Eat is aiming to raise £100m of new money in a flotation that could value the group as high as £900m. At that level Buttress probably has a very valuable stake himself, although he’s not yet willing to divulge how large that is or how much he is intending to sell in this transaction.

“I have a stake in the company but I’m not going to comment on that at this stage,” he said yesterday, before adding that the management of the group was fully committed to maintain the growth of the company. “We’re all fully motivated for the long-term.”
Recent flotations have attracted criticism for putting out details via the prospectus at a late stage in the process, too late for some investors to properly consider the risks and digest information about management stakes and the like. But Buttress promises his company “wants to make sure we give all investors time to study the document”.

“This is a very unique business. We have a world leading position in the online takeaway food sector and I can see growth for many years to come.”