The millenial and Gen Z digital publisher Ladbible is targeting a valuation of £360m in one of the London stock market’s biggest media industry flotations, according to reports this morning.
It is understood that co-founder Solly Solomou is to sell a chunk of his stake, which will be valued at around £200m if an initial public offering (IPO) is successful, as understood by Sky News.
The Manchester-based company, which owns titles including Ladbible, Sportbible and Unilad, is known for its snappy and youth-focused content.
The media group issued a Schedule One statement yesterday morning, marking the first stages of an AIM listing. The group expects to admit to trading in mid December.
Investment bank Zeus Capital is working alongside the media company to review its strategic options, however, a spokesperson for Ladbible declined to comment.
Co-founder of fast fashion giant Boohoo recently joined the board of Ladbible as the non-executive director, with some perceiving this as gearing up for an imminent IPO.
The news also comes after the group reported strong results last month, doubling profits to £4.1m on record sales of £30.2m.
The media company has experienced an explosive level of growth, filling the vacuum left by the ‘lads’ magazines of the early noughties.
This year’s earnings were largely buffered by growing digital ads, as well as a loyal international following, which now generates around 28bn content views globally every year.
Nonetheless, a key backdrop to any media company considering going public is Buzzfeed’s stock market debut this month through its merger with the blank check company 890 5th Avenue Partners.
Like Ladbible, Buzzfeed produces cross-platform news and shareable content, appealing to younger audiences across the world.
Analysts are likely to watch investor reaction, and its success perhaps signals things to come for any UK media company considering flotation.
Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, commented on the speculation: “If you’re not a fan you might think that a proposition like LadBible shouldn’t work. Former “lads” publications have had their moment in the sun and then burnt up rather like Icarus. But the online publisher has, at the moment, got a whole load of very lucrative eyeballs scouring its pages and as such has become a mecca for advertisers. The last lot of earnings figures boasted exactly the kind of numbers you want to take into an IPO and this is an offering that should be oversubscribed.”
” A couple of caveats in the love fest to watch out for though. Hip and trendy is usually only that way for a limited period of time and if LadBible is to sustain investor interest longer than the first few years it will need to work hard to stay relevant. Then there’s the whole process which it seems will see the boss and zeitgeist behind this force sell a chunk of his interest. As long as he’s still got skin in the game that bodes well, the creative force needs to have a vested interest if investors are to feel secure in the company’s future.”