Privates on parade fail to pass muster
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Privates on parade fail to pass muster

This might be the year of the thwarted private-equity IPO. Since January, venture capitalists have been parading their most eligible assets before investors, who so far don't seem over-impressed by what they've seen.


THE WELCOME GIVEN to HMV - jointly sold by record company EMI and private-equity firm Advent - when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in late April was muted to say the least. The £537 million issue was priced at 192p from a range of 220p to 190p yet still traded down in the after market, falling 7.6% on the first day of trading to 169p on May 27.

HMV's uninspiring performance helped set a dangerous precedent. It fuelled the belief that new issues trade down in current market conditions, so creating a strong disincentive to buy in at the IPO stage. What's the point, reason investors, when you can pick up the shares much more cheaply a couple of weeks after the launch?

It didn't much help HMV's cause that just days before it priced, the Copenhagen Stock Exchange IPO of LM Glasfiber had to be pulled.

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