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UK IPO uptick forecast for 2014 as Freshfields secures Poundland float

Partners are forecasting a further uptick in UK initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2014 with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer emerging as the latest major firm to win a role on a company looking for a London listing, as discount retailer Poundland puts together a team to advise it on the company’s next steps.

Poundland’s private equity owner Warburg Pincus – Freshfields’ client – has lined up financial advisers JP Morgan and Credit Suisse to look for a route to market. The deal is understood to be being led by Freshfields corporate partner Adrian Maguire, with the company currently valued at between £400-£500m and expected to float early next year. It is thought that Allen & Overy is advising the underwriters on the deal.

Freshfields is a longterm adviser to Warburg Pincus and this year advised the private equity group on its multi-million investment in shopping malls in Vietnam.

This year so far has seen a major uptick in London initial public offerings (IPO), of which a large proportion have been private equity exits such as Countrywide, Esure, Infinis and Stock Spirits Group.

Slaughter and May has led on a significant number of the highest profile IPOs including Royal Mail, which floated in October for £3.3bn and was 20 times over-subscribed but in which bankers involved in the deal from Goldman Sachs and UBS were called before the Business Innovation and Skills committee this week to explain their valuation of the company.

The first half of 2013 saw 48 European IPOs according to Mergermarket and the second half of the year is expected to exceed that figure, with one private equity partner at a Magic Circle firm commenting to Legal Business: ‘There has been a thawing of a mini ice age for IPOs. I think a lot of the deals will come to market in the first half of next year. It’s a good place for investors to put their money.’

Other companies named in the financial press as considering a London float include Travelex and Saga.

Both Freshfields and A&O declined to comment.