Dutch cable firm Ziggo launched an initial public offering (IPO), which could raise up to 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) for its founding shareholders and help kick start Europe’s dormant new listings market.
Ziggo’s IPO will be made up solely of existing shares held by its founding shareholders, which include affiliates of private equity firms Cinven and Warburg Pincus, the company said in a statement.
Europe has seen no sizeable IPOs since the middle of last year as companies put their listing plans on ice during a period of market volatility brought on by the euro zone debt crisis.
More buoyant stock markets — the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares has risen around 7 per cent since the start of the year — have allowed several listed companies to test investor appetite with share sales, either raising new money or allowing major shareholders to cut their stakes.
Ziggo, whose shares will be floated in Amsterdam, is one of the two main cable operators in the Netherlands providing TV and internet services to about half of all Dutch households. The other is UPC, owned by Liberty Global — previously touted as a potential buyer of Ziggo.
“It is stable, cash generative and defensive, yet has a good growth profile. I think it is the ideal sort of IPO to reopen the European IPO market,” said one source close to the deal. “If it gets going then people will start getting more excited about IPOs, so it is important transaction from that perspective.”
Ziggo is the second major IPO to kick off this month, after Swiss-based DKSH, which helps companies market and distribute their goods in Asia, began marketing a planned listing last week. The Dutch firm, a more well-known name considered by some working in the market to have a better chance of boosting sentiment if successful, is running its offering on a slightly accelerated basis to help reduce market exposure, so could pip DKSH to the post in completing first.
European IPOs usually take around a month from launch to completion. Instead, Ziggo will spend around 10 days marketing the offering, two sources close to the deal said, with a price range expected on March 9 when a management roadshows kick off.