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Simultaneous buy and sell speeds Center Parcs IPO

Deal: Center Parcs flotation
Bookrunner: Collins Stewart
Size: £245 million ($197.5 million)
Date: December 11 2003

Collins Stewart floated the UK leisure group Center Parcs on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (Aim) through a simultaneous auction and public share offering last month. It was the second such deal from Collins Stewart in 2003.

Private equity group MidOcean Partners was selling the holiday parks operator. Collins Stewart used a special vehicle company, Arbor, to make a bid through an auction. Then the broker listed the company on Aim by pre-placing shares with a group of more than 30 institutional investors, mainly from the UK.

The Collins Stewart bid of £285 million, which included loan notes and cash, was selected in an auction against five bidders. The whole process enabled Center Parcs to complete an IPO in weeks rather than months.

"The way the sale was conducted provided us with a lot of stability," says Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby. "It was all over pretty quickly. A normal IPO could have taken three to six months," he says.

The process also ensured that MidOcean, the group formed in February 2003 by the management buyout of DB Capital Partners' US and European late-stage private-equity portfolio, was able to dispose of its entire equity stake in Center Parcs.

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