Edwards Group, the vacuum technology supplier to the world’s biggest chipmakers, has shelved plans to raise £350m or more after institutional investors declined to meet the minimum valuation demanded by its private equity owners under its flotation plans.
The indications earlier on Thursday were that the company was prepared to drop its pricing towards 200p a share – the bottom of the 200p to 270p range indicated last month – but the offer still remained inadequately covered as the last day of bookbuilding began for the initial public offering to proceed.
At a board meeting on Thursday evening, directors opted to pull the IPO rather than be forced into dropping the pricing still further to secure the planned partial exit for its owners.
The Crawley-based company had hoped to sell as much as 35 per cent to investors and achieve a valuation of up to £1.5bn. The bottom of the range 200p price pitched Edwards’ equity value at £1bn.
The decision to abort the flotation will disappoint CCMP and Unitas Capital, its US and Asian private equity owners.
The two companies bought Edwards for £460m in 2007 and last year abandoned a twin-track programme of a trade sale or flotation in favour of an exit via an IPO.
The company, formerly owned by BOC and Linde, last year hired Matthew Taylor, a former managing director of Land Rover and chief executive of JCB, to lead the sales process. Leading customers include Samsung and Hitachi.
Edwards also supplies vacuum pumps used to expel unwanted gases and contaminants at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border.
Digital sports media company Perform said on Thursday it had won investor support for its IPO, though it priced it at the lower end of its planned pricing range. It will raise a net £67.5m after pricing its shares at 260p, giving the company a market capitalisation of £586m.
The IPO was delayed by a day as Perform’s management canvassed investors on the unexpected proposal of new German gambling laws that would add a higher duty and restrictions on in-game betting.