Adevinta completes more than $6 billion IPO, Norway's largest in 13 years

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Adevinta completed a long-planned initial public offering on Tuesday, valuing the fast-growing online classified ads group at more than 53 billion Norwegian crowns ($6.20 billion) ahead of its market debut on Wednesday.

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It was the Nordic nation’s largest IPO since 2006 and the fourth biggest overall, exceeded only by the past listings of Equinor, Telenor and REC Silicon.

A spin-off from media company Schibsted, Adevinta has set its sights on mergers and acquisitions in Europe, South America and North Africa, the newly formed company’s chief executive told Reuters late last year.

The break-up makes it easier for investors to value Adevinta’s assets by comparing with listed peers such as Britain’s Autotrader and Rightmove, Australia’s REA Group and New Zealand’s TradeMe.

Adevinta’s B shares were sold at 78 Norwegian crowns each during bookbuilding, in the upper half of an initial 70-82 crowns range set on April 1, the company said in a statement.

While vote-heavy ‘A’ shares were not sold in the IPO, the share class typically attracts a premium to the ‘B’ shares, potentially giving Adevinta an overall market value of 55 billion crowns, a Reuters comparison with Schibsted showed.

The new company eventually plans to merge the two share classes. Schibsted and its main owner, Blommenholm Industrier, will maintain a majority stake in Adevinta following the listing.

From a modest start publishing newspapers, Schibsted built fast-growing websites and ‘boot sale’ apps in 22 countries, allowing private and professional users alike to advertise anything from secondhand items to cars, homes or jobs.

Adevinta’s brands include France’s Leboncoin, Brazil’s OLX and Britain’s Shpock, among others. Schibsted will keep its newspapers and classified ads units in the Nordic region.

The launch in 2016 of Facebook Marketplace weakened Schibsted’s share price, but it rebounded on signs that global giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet’s Google had so far had little impact on the company.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Jan Harvey