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Owners will consider trade sale

Oil consultancy Wood Mackenzie considering £2 billion IPO

Wood MackenzieOil consultancy Wood Mackenzie is believed to be planning a  £2 billion stock market listing, although trade buyers have already shown interest in acquiring the business.

The Edinburgh company’s owners are said to be keen on a flotation unless bidders come in at above £1.8bn.

It is owned by San Francisco based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman which has recently hired Lazard to advise on options for the future.

US data group Verisk Analytics offered £1.6bn for the company, according to the Financial Times, which said McGraw Hill Financial, owner of energy price reporter Platt’s and the rating agency Standard & Poor’s, had also submitted an offer.

Recent peaks on stock markets in London and the US is encouraging private equity firms to seek exits at good values before any downturn kicks in. Markets have been buoyed on a number of factors, including low inflation, but are concerned that headwinds could see them fall again.

Hellman & Friedman bought its 63% stake three years ago in a deal valuing Wood Mac at £1.1bn. The Edinburgh firm’s management and employees retained a 24% stake, while and Charterhouse, a European private equity company, holds 13%.

The company is a renowned market leader in research and analytics on the energy and commodities sectors for clients in the oil and gas, financial services groups, metals and mining space.

It began as an Edinburgh stockbroker in 1844 and has been through various owners, including TSB and County NatWest. It began reviewing the North Sea oilfields in 1973.

A number of senior Scottish business figures have been on its board over the years.

Tom Allison, best known for his directorships at Clydeport and Celtic Football Club, was replaced as chairman in 2007 by former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman and chief executive Sir George Mathewson. The former advertising veteran Jim Faulds also sat on the board.

In recent years it expanded its research capability into other commodities, buying coal specialists Hill & Associates in the US and Barlow Jonker in Australia; and Brook Hunt, the UK-based metals analysts.

Recent ownership history

1986:  purchased by Hill Samuel, the UK merchant bank, with successive ownership by NatWest and Bankers Trust

1999: Bankers Trust (including Wood Mackenzie) purchased by Deutsche Bank

2001: Management and employee buy-out from Deutsche Bank backed by the Bank of Scotland

2005: Refinancing deal, involving Candover Partners acquiring equity through the exit of Bank of Scotland

2007: Creation of coal team via acquisitions of Hill & Associates and Barlow Jonker. Divestment of Life Sciences division

2008: Creation of metals team via acquisition of Brook Hunt

2009: Refinancing deal, involving Charterhouse Capital Partners acquiring the majority equity stake in the business through the exit of Candover

2010: Acquisition of PetroPlan Refinery Model

2012: Refinancing deal, involving Hellman & Friedman acquiring majority shareholding whilst Charterhouse Capital Partners retains a minority stake

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