Wednesday 21 July 2021 9:24 am

Bridgepoint shares swell 26 per cent upon rare London IPO

Shares in private equity firm Bridgepoint surged upon its London stock exchange debut on Wednesday, in the first major UK listing for the industry in decades.

The buyout group, which has around €27.4bn of assets under management across equity and debt funds, set a share price of 350 pence per share in an announcement on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday morning.

But Bridgepoint shares were trading at 440 pence at 9am, up almost 26 per cent on the day.

The surging share price on Wednesday brought the buyout group’s market capitalisation to roughly £3.6bn, after it was valued at around £2.88bn upon listing at the advertised share price of 350 pence.

Bridgepoint’s IPO was the first major listing by a UK private equity company in almost three decades.

The firm sold 85.7m new shares to raise around £300m for the deal to fund “investment in the next generation of Bridgepoint funds, launch and seed potential new organic strategies, continue to assess potentially value-accretive inorganic acquisition opportunities, and provide greater strategic flexibility including reducing the group’s indebtedness.”

An additional 139.7m existing shares were sold by existing shareholders.

This brought the IPO price to £789m – a freefloat of around 27 per cent. Bridgepoint’s freefloat could rise to around 31.5 per cent if over-allotment options are exercised in full.

Upon its float, Bridgepoint’s ordinary share capital stood at approximately 823m ordinary shares.

The private equity giant announced that conditional trading of its shares began this morning and unconditional dealings are expected to begin on 26 July.

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are joint global coordinators on the IPO, while BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch are joint bookrunners.

The float marks a rare entrance to public markets for a private equity firm and will place Bridgepoint among the biggest listed on the London Stock exchange.

It will become the third private equity firm to IPO in London and will sit alongside London-listed 3i Group and Intermediate Capital Group, who both listed in London in 1994 – before Bridgepoint was formed in 2000 following a management buyout from Natwest Equity Partners.

Since 1994, the largest private equity firms have stayed privately owned.

It comes amid a flurry of private equity dealmaking as buyout groups move in on companies that have been left reeling from the pandemic.

It previously owned Pret A Manager before selling it to German group JAB Holdings in 2018 for £1.5bn. Earlier this month it took a minority stake in Asian fast food chain Itsu.

It has also invested in Dorna, which holds the commercial rights to MotoGP.