Partnership is on the road to a spring IPO

David Hellier
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ADVISERS are believed to be days away from starting the firing gun on the UK flotation of Partnership, the specialist insurance group controlled by the private equity company Cinven.

Partnership is 77.4 per cent owned by Cinven, which is looking to sell part of its shareholding in an initial public offering in London.

The remainder of the equity is owned by the group’s management, which is headed by chief executive Steve Groves.

Bankers to the deal, led by Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are trying to determine with Cinven how much of its stake should be sold off in the flotation and how long a lock-in period there should be for the firm’s management.

Cinven has a track record of selling shares in a flotation, for example in the recent sale of a 20 per cent stake in Dutch telecoms group Ziggo, but remaining as a sizeable shareholder for some time afterwards.

If the deal goes ahead before the summer holiday period, it will represent the resumption of big company flotations in London.

The housebuilder Crest Nicholson, Countrywide and the insurer Esure have all floated in London in the first half of the year but the last few weeks have seen deal-making quieten down.

Partnership, which is expected to be valued around £1bn, reported profits of £64.4m in 2011, up 82 per cent from £35.5m the previous year.

Chief executive Groves joined Partnership in 2005 as the chief financial officer and three years later was promoted to the top job.