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Private equity float

Miller Homes owner Bridgepoint plans £2bn IPO

Miller Homes was acquired in 2017

Bridgepoint, the private equity firm whose assets include Scottish house builder Miller Homes, plans to float on the stock market in a deal that could value it at £2 billion.

The initial public offering will see it raise £300m through the sale of new shares while the current owners – including 140 partners – will share a £200m windfall by diluting their stakes.

Bridgepoint, which also owns firms such as Hobbycraft, as well as the UK and French franchises of Burger King, could join the stock market as soon as next month.

Its move comes amid soaring levels of private equity finance pouring into British businesses. Supermarket chain Morrisons, G4S and McCarthy & Stone have been among the targets as private money sees good value in under-valued listed companies.

The supermarket Asda has recently been snapped up in a £6.8bn deal backed by the private equity group TDR Capital. US private equity firm TSG owns about a fifth of Scottish brewer BrewDog.

Bridgepoint, which started life as the private equity arm of NatWest bank, acquired Edinburgh-baed Miller Homes in 2017 in a £655m deal from funds managed by GSO Capital Partners, part of Blackstone.

Some of the High Street’s best-known names have also been bought by Bridgepoint, including cafe chain Pret A Manger in 2008 before selling it a decade later, by which point the company had grown staff numbers from 4,000 to more than 10,000.

It hopes to replicate that success at Itsu, the Japanese fast-food chain it backed this year.

The only other major private equity firms listed in London are 3i and Intermediate Capital Group and some argue in favour of a public listing as it forces them to be more transparent.

In the US, firms such as Apollo Global, Blackstone and Carlyle Group have seen share prices hit record highs.

Low interest rates have led investors to pump money into private equity in search of better returns.



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