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New Look set for discussion on IPO revival

DIRECTORS of New Look, the fashion retailer which last month sensationally withdrew its £1.6bn initial public offering (IPO) due to ongoing turmoil on the markets, will this week meet to discuss a revival of the float later in the year.

The stock market listing will be top of the agenda at a board meeting on Tuesday, as New Look prepares to wrap up a lengthy round of canvassing in the City to gauge investor appetite.

However, an announcement on the IPO is not expected to come before the general election in May, particularly given that retail companies are steeling themselves for further market volatility in the coming weeks as the sector enters reporting season.

Sources close to New Look, which is owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira, said the company is still committed to a public listing but would wait until the markets stabilise further.

Chief executive Carl McPhail said at the time of the postponement on 12 February: “We remain convinced of the strengths of the New Look business and its suitability as a public company. We will re-evaluate our options when market conditions improve.”

New Look was one of several companies to pull planned flotations on the stock market in a matter of days, rattling investors who had been cautiously optimistic of an upturn on the markets. An IPO from Travelport, majority owned by Blackstone private equity, was axed at the eleventh hour due to a lack of subscriptions, while Merlin Entertainment also pulled its offering.