STOCK markets roared back into life yesterday after discount retailer Poundland, Candy Crush Saga producer King Digital Entertainment, and services firm ISS fired the starting gun on flotation plans, with UK pet store Pets at Home expected to follow suit as soon as today.
UK retailer Poundland revealed plans to list in London in March, with estimates suggesting a £700m valuation. UK-based King filed documents with US regulators to list on the New York Stock Exchange, in a deal which could value the firm – which is backed by private equity group Apax Partners and Index Ventures – at up to $5.3bn.
Danish services company ISS, owned by private equity firm EQT and Goldman Sachs, dealt a blow to London’s market by plumping for the Copenhagen stock market. It aims to raise 8bn crowns (£900m).
The bevy of companies announcing initial public offerings came as one of the biggest M&A deals of the year was unveiled, with Dublin-based drugmaker Actavis agreeing to buy US firm Forest Laboratories for $25bn.
The flurry of stock market announcements marks a watershed moment for IPO markets this year after effectively shutting down in the year’s following the financial crisis. Around 40 firms are now looking to tap markets over the coming year, many in the retail sector.