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‘Feel good factor’: Norton Rose and Stephenson Harwood advise on £350m Civitas IPO

After a slow spell for the initial public offering (IPO) market, Norton Rose Fulbright and Stephenson Harwood have picked up mandates on Civitas Social Housing’s float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The listing raised £350m last Friday (18 November), above initial estimates of around £250m when the deal was first announced at the start of November.

Norton Rose advised Civitas on the float which was the first social housing focused real estate investment fund to list on the LSE. The firm’s team was led by corporate partner Michael Newell with a tax team led by partner Angela Savin.

Stephenson Harwood acted for Cenkos Securities, the sole sponsor and financial adviser on the float. Stephenson Harwood investments partner Alex Haynes told Legal Business: ‘This social housing play is the first of its kind. People were excited about it coming to market and the deal had a feel good factor to it in freeing up capital for further social housing development.’

Norton Rose partner Newell added: ‘There is a significant social housing shortage in the UK which requires innovative solutions. Civitas will have the opportunity to assist housing associations and local authorities to free up the capital required to expand their development programmes.’

The second half of 2016 has seen a relative pick-up in IPO work after in a slow year. In London a number of headline IPOs have fallen through, including a float for fintech firm Misys, automotive company TI Fluid Systems and PureGym.

However, an IPO for medical supplier ConvaTec was completed in late October, raising around £1.5bn. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Chris Mort led for ConvaTec, while Linklaters partners James Wootton, Dan Schuster-Woldan and Mike Bienenfield led the advice for the banks.