- REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Private equity firms could be close to an IPO spree as they look to exit some monster investments in the fourth quarter. From payments processor First Data to broadcaster Univision, companies could raise billions in the coming months. Some of these are assets held onto – and marked down – in the wake of the financial crisis. Now with high market valuations behind them, the investment firms are looking to finally book some profits. Of course, it’s not entirely up to the sellers. The best laid IPO plans could be derailed by market volatility as investors wrestle with Federal Reserve policy and global economic concerns. The funds could also have another trick up their sleeves: IPO filings are sometimes followed by outright sales of companies instead of a trading debut. One IPO on the docket for this year has already used this so-called dual-track tactic once, winding up sold to a high bidder instead of in public hands.
But the PE firms have recent success to point to as they push for exits. Several big deals in the past two years, like that of Blackstone Group’s investment in Hilton Hotel, have been followed by rising shares (and on-paper valuations) of the investments.
Here are some of the biggest IPOs expected to be come down the pipeline later this year:
First Data is finally ready for its big public offering.
Payment processor First Data is being readied for its return to public markets more than eight years after private equity firm KKR spent $26 billion to acquire it. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the $3 billion offering being made by First Data suggests a lower valuation than the one at which the private equity firm had acquired it. KKR also won’t be making any money off the IPO, at least, initially: First Data will use the $3 billion in anticipated proceeds, according to the Journal, to pay down a whopping $21 billion debt bill.
Albertsons is paying down debt and fees with its big offering.
- REUTERS/Fred Prouser
Also expected to make its market debut soon is Albertsons, the super market chain backed by private equity firm Cerberus. This January, the company completed a mega-merger with grocer Safeway, which expanded the company’s footprint to more than 2,200 stores in 34 US states. The company filed an amended prospectus last week that revealed it would sell nearly $2 billion in stock. Like First Data’s deal, much of those proceeds would go toward paying off existing debt, as well as management fees.
Neiman Marcus filed for a 2015 IPO, but we’ve heard that story before.
- Thomson Reuters
Neiman Marcus is ready for an IPO (again). Bought by private equity before the financial crisis in 2005, its former owners TPG Capital and Warbug Pincus sold it to a pair of new private investors in 2013 (this, after teasing the market with an IPO filing). Ares Capital and the Canada Public Pension Investment Board spent $5.1 billion to buy the retailer and now, the new owners are lining it up for an IPO.
Univision is inching closer toward its IPO, as well.
Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster owned by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners, Providence Equity and TPG Capital, is also awaiting an IPO. After a July filing, there has been little chatter for a pending offering, however. Unlike some of the other bigger pre-crisis LBOs, Univision could have a strategic bidder interested in its assets – especially as its content is valued by a number of potential buyers.