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Freshfields and Linklaters lead on SSP Group’s float

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters are advising on the float of SSP Group, the owner of Millie’s Cookies and Uppercrust, on the London Stock Exchange.

Corporate partner Mark Austin, who earlier this year advised high street retailer Poundland on its £750m float, is representing SSP alongside the Magic Circle firm’s co-head of international capital markets Sarah Murphy.

Corporate partners at Linklaters, David Avery-Gee and Patrick Sheil, are advising the joint sponsors and bookrunners Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley.

London-headquartered SSP, which operates almost 2,000 food outlets across 30 countries – largely at airports and railway stations, is looking to raise £500 million from the float. Despite volatility in the London IPO market, with low cost airline Wizz Air and clothes retailer Fat Face having both pulled out of listings in the last two months, SPP’s recently installed chief executive Kate Swann, who ran stationery chain WH Smith for 10 years until 2013, is looking to fund expansion at transport hub redevelopments across Europe.

Swann said in a statement: ‘SSP is a leader in the fast growing international travel food and beverage market and is focused on the more rapidly growing sectors of air and rail.

‘An IPO is the appropriate next step for a business of SSP’s calibre, size and international scale and we believe that we are well-placed for life as a listed company.’

SPP’s partner brands include Starbucks, Burger King and M&S Simply Food.