Hold onto Your Hats, 2010 Will Be the Year of the Listing ; ANALYSIS

Article excerpt

FROM the London Eye to a Saga holiday and from cat and dog supermarket Pets at Home to Betfair, the second decade of the 21st century is to open with a flurry of flotations.

If this was the year of the rescue rights issue, the bond issue refinancing, and the debt-forequity restructuring, next year's City bonuses look set to be calculated on the quantity of initial public offerings.

The float is back as private equity re-opens the sausage factory of buying companies and then selling them three to five years later. It is reckoned there are at least a dozen major flotations in the pipelines.

Among the monsters could be Merlin Entertainments, the group which is co-owned by the sheikhs from Dubai and US private equity firm Blackstone and comprises such tourist attractions as the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers and Legoland.

Another will be Acromas, the combined AA motoring business and Saga being groomed for flotation by the British private equity firm Permira which is also looking to offload the Birds Eye fishfinger maker. …