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CVC pushes back IPO plans amid market turmoil

Europe’s biggest private equity group CVC Capital Partners has pushed back plans for a stock market listing in the first half of this year, with market turbulence standing in the way of a multibillion-euro flotation that it had hoped to carry out in June.

The buyout group has told analysts that it expects its initial public offering, a historic shift for a secretive firm that has been in private hands for three decades, to take place this autumn or early in 2023, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

CVC plans to float just 10 per cent of its business, one of the people said. The group was valued at about €15bn last year when it agreed to sell a minority stake to Blue Owl’s Dyal Capital unit.

Markets have been roiled by inflation, interest rate rises, slowing growth and the war in Ukraine, bringing an abrupt halt to a hot market for IPOs. Less than $3bn has been raised in traditional IPOs in Europe so far this year, compared with $32.7bn in the same period last year, according to data from Dealogic.

CVC intends to list on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange, in a blow to the London Stock Exchange, which has struggled to attract large and successful listings. CVC is rooted in the UK capital, where it spun out of a division of Citigroup in 1993.

It plans to build up its back-office functions and hire more investor relations staff over the next few months as it readies itself for the listing, one of the people said. It has set a €25bn target for its next private equity fund.

CVC said that no decisions on timing had been made.

Only two companies have raised more than $500mn in European IPOs so far this year, Vår Energi in Oslo and Technoprobe in Milan, figures from Dealogic show. Both priced their deals towards the bottom of their target ranges.

CVC’s rival buyout group Bridgepoint last year became the first major private equity group to go public in London for decades. Its shares are down almost 25 per cent from their IPO price.

Sweden’s EQT listed in 2019 and has become the most richly valued private equity firm globally, with shares trading far above their listing price.

CVC plans to keep in private hands most or all of the lucrative profits it makes buying and selling companies, while handing public investors the proceeds of its smaller but more predictable management fee income, the Financial Times reported in January. The model is similar to that employed by EQT.

CVC has €157bn of committed funds and 25 offices around the world, according to its website. It is best known for deals including Formula One, the Six Nations rugby tournament in Europe, the communications company Teneo and Unilever’s tea business.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Megaw

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