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‘An aggressive timetable’: Macfarlanes, Reed Smith and Travers line-up on largest main market IPO of 2017 so far

Macfarlanes, Reed Smith and Travers Smith have all advised on Xafinity’s £190.3m flotation, in what is the largest premium main market IPO of 2017 to date.

As part of the deal, Xafinity is seeking to place £179.6m of existing and new ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The IPO also saw private equity house CBPE Capital sell its 100% stake in Xafinity.

Corporate partner Philip Taylor led for Reed Smith as the firm advised Xafinity, while the firm also offered expertise to CBPE Capital as it sold its stake in the company. Macfarlanes M&A partner Harry Coghill, alongside senior counsel Mark Slade and employment partner Robert Collard, provided advice to Xafinity’s management team.

Travers corporate finance partner Philip Cheveley advised Zeus Capital as financial adviser and sole bookrunner to the deal. Cheveley also ran the team that acted for Deloitte as financial adviser and sponsor.

Xafinity, a pensions actuarial, consulting and administration business, plans to utilise the net proceeds of the IPO to fund its existing banking facilities.

Cheveley told Legal Business: ‘It was challenging in the sense that we did it to quite an aggressive timetable. It’s a testament to the quality of the Xafinity business and its management team that they managed to do it on such a compressed timescale with such a high demand for the issue. Also, CBPE Capital was able to sell 100% of its stake, which is quite unusual.’

Taylor added: ‘The listing will not only enable Xafinity to raise its profile further among clients and provide it with access to the capital markets to aid future growth if required, but also enables CBPE to make a full and successful exit from its investment.’

Slade commented: ‘It was an interesting piece of work. One of the key challenges for management in these types of transactions is that they are inevitably immersed in every single area of the transaction and they’ve got limited time. It’s helpful to have an adviser who can do some of the thinking, in respect of their own personal position.’

In November 2016, Norton Rose Fulbright and Stephenson Harwood helped remedy a sluggish spell for the London IPO market by winning mandates on Civitas Social Housing’s float on the LSE. The listing raised £350m, well above initial estimates of £250m.

Meanwhile, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted on another major IPO in October 2016, advising medical products company ConvaTec on its $1.8bn flotation.