Guardian Media Group PLC’s initial public offering of portfolio company Ascential plc

Date Announced:

Guardian Media Group PLC

Closed – 02/2016

£800 million Read the case study

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.

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