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08 Feb 2021 | 12:43

Auction Technology confirms £600m IPO

(Sharecast News) - Auction Technology confirmed its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of about £600m to support its acquisition plans and repay existing shareholders. The initial public offering will comprise about £250m of new shares and existing shares held by certain investors. It will use £120m of the gross proceeds to repay all debt and pay offer costs. The other £130m will repay preference shares held by existing shareholders.

Auction Technology said investors including Merian Global and Jupiter had agreed to buy a total of £100m of shares at a price valuing the company at up to £600m. The final offer price will be set through a bookbuild in March.

When the shares are admitted to trading at least 40% of the company will be owned by public market investors, up from a target of at least 25% when the company announced its intention to float.

The company said having no debt would give it flexibility to pursue acquisitions and other opportunities. The IPO will increase its profile to consumers and auctioneers, support investment and provide a base of long-term shareholders. It will also "provide a potential liquidity opportunity for existing shareholders".

Auction Technology is owned by private equity firm TA Associates, which bought the business and a similar US company, Proxibid, a year ago from private equity sellers and combined the two operations.

The London-based company operates a network of more than 2,000 auction houses around the world that creates a bigger pool of buyers and a higher profile for their auctions. Bidders are attracted by the range of items available and a growing interest in second-hand items, Auction Technology said.

John Paul Savant, Auction Technologies' chief executive, said: "Now is the right time for us to go public. The industry's structural shift from offline to online is still in its early stages. We also play a key role in the growing circular economy, facilitating the buying and selling of millions of second-hand items and promoting a less wasteful world."

The group concentrates on industrial and commercial equipment, arts and antiques, and surplus and returned retail stock. Auction Technology was founded in 1971 as the Antiques Trade Gazette and still publishes the magazine as part of its marketing.

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