Transactions
& Case Studies

Displaying: Capital Markets

February 2016


£800 million

Initial Public Offering of portfolio company Ascential plc
Exclusive Financial Advisor to Guardian Media Group Plc on its £800 million initial public offering of portfolio company Ascential plc

On February 8, 2016, Ascential plc announced the successful pricing of its initial public offering at 200p per share, giving the company a market capitalization of £800 million. Moelis & Company acted as the independent advisor to Guardian Media Group (GMG) on Ascential’s IPO, which resulted in total proceeds of £322 million, including the greenshoe.

Ascential, an information and events company jointly owned by Apax Partners and GMG, operates through two segments: Exhibitions & Festivals and Information Services. The company owns a portfolio of businesses including the Cannes Lions advertising festival, the financial services event Money 20/20 and the global fashion trend forecasting service WGSN.

Conditional trading commenced on the London Stock Exchange on February 9, 2016 under the ticker ASCL. Moelis & Company advised GMG in relation to the initial price range of 190p – 220p and the stock traded up +1.0% to 202p at the opening of trading in the context of highly volatile markets. The valuation at the IPO price was in line with key peers. Of the £322 million of proceeds raised, £122 million were secondary proceeds and £200 million were primary proceeds, reducing leverage from 4.8x to 2.6x 2015 EBITDA.

The IPO represented a comeback to the public markets for Ascential, which was acquired by GMG and Apax Partners LP for £1.0 billion in 2008. Moelis & Company acted as the independent advisor to GMG in relation to its partial exit from Ascential, advising first on the M&A alternative and subsequently on Ascential’s IPO.

June 2015


£1.0 billion

Initial Public Offering
Exclusive Financial Advisor to Sophos Group plc (and Funds Advised by Apax Partners LLP) on their £405 million Initial Public Offering, giving Sophos Group plc a market capitalisation of £1.0 billion

On June 26, 2015, Sophos Group plc (“Sophos”), a global provider of cloud-enabled end-user and network security solutions focused on the small and mid-market segment, announced the successful pricing of its initial public offering when it listed on the London Stock Exchange at 225 pence per share. After the greenshoe option was exercised, a total of £405 million proceeds were raised, giving Sophos a market capitalisation of £1.0 billion upon listing. This transaction represented the largest UK software IPO in history at that time. Moelis & Company was mandated by Sophos to act as its exclusive financial advisor in connection with the IPO.

Moelis & Company led Sophos through the entire transaction, providing critical advice on matters such as syndicate structure, positioning and pricing. Due to the relative lack of software security companies listed in Europe at the time, Sophos was considered a scarce asset in that region. As a result, Moelis & Company’s advice to list in London, rather than the U.S., allowed Sophos to achieve a premium valuation from European investors. This resulted in an extremely high-quality order book, which was aligned with Sophos’ interests for the future.

Sophos performed strongly in the public markets following the IPO. Given the ongoing momentum in the share price, funds advised by Apax Partners LLP decided to reduce their holding in Sophos via a £159 million accelerated bookbuild offering, completed on December 1, 2015. Moelis & Company was the exclusive financial advisor to the funds advised by Apax Partners LLP on this transaction as well.

May 2014


$850 million

Capital Raise
Exclusive Financial Advisor and Placement Agent to Extraction Oil & Gas on its $850 million Capital Raise

On May 29, 2014, Extraction Oil & Gas, LLC (“Extraction”), a Denver-based energy company focused on the exploration and production of oil and gas reserves in the Rocky Mountains, completed a $230 million HoldCo loan and $230 million of common equity units. In addition to this financing, Moelis & Company also secured commitments for Extraction from the same investor group for an additional $425 million of debt and equity financing. The debt and equity financing comes from a syndicate of top tier institutional investors including mutual funds, alternative investment managers, pension funds, endowments and funds-of-funds. Both the debt and equity financings were significantly oversubscribed, resulting in attractive terms for Extraction. This transaction demonstrates Moelis & Company’s ability to seamlessly execute a complex joint debt-and-equity capital markets transaction to meet the needs of our clients. Moelis & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor and placement agent to Extraction on the financing transactions.

April 2014


£320 million

Initial Public Offering
Exclusive Financial Advisor to Polypipe Group on its £320 million Initial Public Offering

On April 11, 2014, Polypipe Group plc (“Polypipe”), the largest manufacturer by revenue in the United Kingdom of plastic pipe systems for the residential, commercial, civils and infrastructure sectors, successfully completed its initial public offering at a price of £2.45 per share and began trading on the London Stock Exchange. Proceeds of £320 million were raised for existing shareholders. Moelis & Company was mandated by the company and its private equity backer Cavendish Square Partners to evaluate strategic alternatives. Following an extensive review of all sale and timing alternatives, Moelis & Company advised the company to consider an IPO and to delay any exit until 2014 in order to maximize value. This advice resulted in a valuation significantly above the company’s initial expectations. The transaction represents the largest IPO in the UK construction & building products sector in the last 15 years and the second largest ever.

Given the momentum in the share price, with the stock trading meaningfully above the IPO price, Cavendish Square Partners decided to reduce its holding in Polypipe via a £50 million accelerated bookbuild offering. Moelis & Company advised Cavendish Square Partners on the transaction, which was completed on December 11, 2014.

August 2012


Undisclosed

Portfolio Monetization & Fund Recapitalization
Exclusive Financial Advisor to Willis Stein & Partners III, L.P. on its Portfolio Monetization and Fund Recapitalization

On August 27, 2012, Willis Stein & Partners (“Willis Stein”), a Chicago-based middle market private equity firm, completed an innovative transaction to provide cash liquidity to limited partners (“LPs”) of its third and most recent fund, Willis Stein & Partners III, L.P. (the “Fund”). LPs were also permitted to elect to retain an investment in certain portfolio companies in order to benefit from their continued growth. The Fund was raised in 2000 with $1.8 billion in commitments and, at the time of Moelis & Company’s engagement in January 2012, was operating in its second of three one-year extensions. As an alternative to a third fund extension or liquidation of the remaining assets, Moelis & Company structured this transaction to address the varying objectives of a diverse group of existing investors, including a liquidity option at an attractive price. This was the third transaction that Moelis & Company completed in 2012 for Willis Stein or its portfolio companies, demonstrating our commitment to building long-term client relationships. Moelis & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Fund.

June 2011


$1.3 billion

Initial Public Offering
Exclusive financial advisor to Samsonite International S.A. on its $1.3 billion initial public offering

On June 16, 2011, Samsonite International S.A. (“Samsonite”), the world’s largest travel luggage company by retail sales value in 2010, successfully listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The offering consisted of 18% primary shares and 82% secondary shares, with a 15% greenshoe option. The offering was launched with a price range of HKD13.50-17.50, and the final price was set at HKD14.50, implying a pre-greenshoe deal size of $1.3 billion at a valuation of 18.3x 2011PE, and a market capitalization of $2.6 billion at the time of listing.

Moelis & Company was selected as exclusive financial advisor by Samsonite and CVC through a competitive process held in January 2011 and played a key role in the listing, including:

  • Advising on selection of banks, formation of underwriting syndicate and negotiation of underwriting fees and engagement terms
  • Advising on offering structure, timing, valuation considerations and Hong Kong execution process
  • Consolidating joint bookrunners’ pre-deal investor education and roadshow investor feedback and validating through independent checks
  • Advising on pricing and allocation with joint bookrunners including Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, UBS and RBS

Moelis & Company contributed significantly to the seamless execution of the IPO with the initial A-1 listing application submitted within four months and approval received from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for Samsonite’s listing granted within 10 weeks of submission.