Bridgepoint plays down IPO rumours at Pets at Home

BRIDGEPOINT, the private equity owner of the UK&rsquo;s biggest retailer of pet products, Pets At Home, yesterday played down reports it is planning a &pound;700m stock market flotation for the business.<br /><br />Bridgepoint was said to have held talks with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Cazenove, NM Rothschild and BOA Merrill Lynch about timing, valuation and investor appetite. But yesterday a spokesman told City A.M. the &ldquo;timing would rely on the recession ending, and who knows when that will be. This rumour is very premature.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;There have been no banks appointed, no decisions on timing, or method of entrance. The banks are working hard to look busy, and that&rsquo;s about it. We&rsquo;re doing extremely well, and will naturally attract interest.&rdquo;<br /><br />Pets At Home has been a retail star during the downturn reporting a 29 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to nearly &pound;40m. The pet market is tipped to reach more than &pound;4.2bn by next year.<br /><br />Bridgepoint bought the chain for &pound;230m in 2004 but it has been refinanced four times since, generating more than &pound;120m in cash for its investors already.