21. September 2012–
The UK is making a play to encourage Europe's IPO-ready tech companies to list "at home" in London rather than in the US.
The proposed "new route to the UK IPO market", announced yesterday and developed jointly by the UK Government and London Stock Exchange, is aimed at high-growth, medium-sized companies.
"There is a rich crop of innovative European high-tech companies that will be going to the financial market over the next few years," UK Science Minister David Willetts said in a statement yesterday. "We’re determined to make sure that as many as possible should do an IPO and float in the UK, not elsewhere."
Specific proposals include the ability for companies to list a smaller proportion of shares and reduced reporting requirements for a fixed period. The government promised further details would be published before the end of 2012.
The London Stock Exchange's Marcus Stuttard told the Wall Street Journal they hoped to attract companies with market capitalisation of about £200-500million (€250-625m).
Who'll be the first of the Berlin crowd to list?
Index Ventures partner Neil Rimer – a firm advocate for more tech IPOs in Europe – estimates at least 20-30 European tech companies are currently ready to list. Those companies (at least 10 in the UK, six in Germany and five in France) include Criteo, Adconion, Photobox, Moleskine, JustEat and King, plus Wonga and Moshi Monsters.
The most likely current candidates in Berlin for an IPO, based on growth rate and company size, would include Wooga (King's main rival in Europe), Team Europe's Delivery Hero and SponsorPay and Rocket Internet's online fashion retailer Zalando.
Out of those four, only Zalando – with a value of at least $1billion, assuming JP Morgan recently paid at least $10m for its one per cent stake – is rumoured to be considering a listing. The company's executives, in a rare interview in February, didn't rule out the option but said there were no such specific intentions in place.
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