By Robert Venes
LONDON, Feb 28 (IFR) - Dutch cable group Ziggo will launch its long-awaited IPO tomorrow, with private equity owners Cinven and Warburg Pincus targeting 600m-800m euros in an all-secondary offering.
The company is due to begin approximately one week of pre-marketing tomorrow, Wednesday February 29, with pricing following just a fortnight after launch. The accelerated timetable is a result of looking at the relative health of the US IPO market, where deals are only live for two weeks, versus the closure of the European market in the second half of 2011.
Instead of two weeks of pre-marketing, where analysts visit investors, followed by two weeks of bookbuilding and management roadshows, each stage has been cut in half. Bookbuilding is due to begin around Wednesday March 7, putting pricing around March 14.
Cinven and Warburg Pincus were targeting a transaction size of up to 1.25bn euros last year. Although comfortably bigger than the largest IPO so far this year - the US$250m quasi-private deal for RusPetro - that figure has been substantially reduced to 600m-800m euros as part of a switch to a more US-style approach, where the IPO is seen as an introduction rather than the main liquidity event.
The theory is the stock then finds a level, brokers produce independent research and then large staggered sell-downs follow from the owners. Ziggo is the first name to try this approach so it is no surprise that the private equity owners are selling rather than the ideal of a primary share IPO.
Companies typically target a free-float of at least 25% at IPO, but Ziggo has been given a dispensation to have a lower free-float with a level around 15%-20% likely from provisional numbers.
There had been talk of interest from US billionaire John Malone's Liberty Global to buy Ziggo, but those involved suggested his time had passed. One banker involved said there is no desire in the current market to waste investors' time in launching an IPO that may end with the company being sold. While there cannot be complete certainty a bid would be rejected, he added, bankers have to be 90%-95% certain of successfully taking an IPO to completion before pressing ahead.
Although DKSH, a Swiss-based Asia-focused outsourcing business, is already in the market with a US$500m offering running over four weeks, Ziggo is seen as the European IPO market opener.
JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley are joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners. Deutsche Bank and UBS are also joint books. ABN AMRO, HSBC, Nomura, Rabobank and Societe Generale are co-leads. STJ Advisors is the independent adviser.