Antin Seeks Public Listing, Following in Bridgepoint’s Wake

(Bloomberg) — Private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners SA is planning an initial public offering in Paris, joining rivals in tapping public markets in Europe.

The European alternative asset manager, which invests in everything from fiber-optic networks to water utilities, plans to raise about 350 million euros ($416 million) selling new shares, while its co-founders also will offer stock, according to a statement Friday.

The announcement comes less than two months after buyout firm Bridgepoint Group Plc debuted on the London Stock Exchange. Swedish investment firm EQT AB, whose shares have risen more than 500% since its 2019 IPO, set off the trend, with its success spurring peers to seek listings. Bridgepoint has jumped 46% since its London debut on July 21.

Several European private equity firms are already publicly traded, including France’s Eurazeo SE and Tikehau Capital SCA as well as Switzerland’s Partners Group Holding AG. For these companies, public listings are an opportunity to raise funds to expand into new areas, while allowing top dealmakers to cash out.

Unlike their U.S. counterparts, it appears that Bridgepoint isn’t required to disclose the full extent of payments made to management, the Financial Times reported on Friday. While Bridgepoint does have to reveal executives’ salaries and bonuses, it doesn’t report money received in the form of “carried interest” payments, a 20% share of profits in the funds their firms raise and invest, the newspaper reported.

“Whether the light now being shone on Bridgepoint’s pay policies, and questions about whether PE bosses are having their cake and eating it when it comes to potentially private-equity-style returns at a public company, it will be interesting to see if this deters some private equity firms from taking the plunge and listing,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell Plc.

For now, there is no sign firms are being put off. CVC Capital Partners is nearing a deal to sell a minority stake to investment firm Blue Owl Capital Inc., Bloomberg News reported last month. The transaction, which values the European buyout firm at around $15 billion, could be paving the way for an IPO.

Infrastructure Portfolio

Founded in 2007, Antin manages 19.9 billion euros investing in infrastructure in Europe and North America, according to its website. Its portfolio includes companies like CityFibre, a provider of high-speed telecom infrastructure in the U.K., and French energy services provider Idex.

“The planned IPO aims to accelerate Antin’s growth strategy in a rapidly growing and essential asset class, develop its existing and new strategies, strengthen Antin’s brand, gain greater strategic flexibility and allow Antin to continue investing both in carried interest and in co-investments in its future Fund Series,” the company said in the statement. 

French market regulator AMF has approved Antin’s registration document. The IPO is subject to market conditions and approval of a prospectus, the firm said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley will be joint global coordinators, while BNP Paribas SA, BofA Securities and Citigroup Inc. will act as joint bookrunners if the IPO proceeds.

“It is a good thing that more private equity companies are listing,” said Joachim Klement, a strategist at Liberum Capital. “It increases transparency about the company’s prospects and provides a day-to-day assessment of how investors see the future growth of these companies.”

(Adds details on exective pay disclosures from the fifth paragraph)

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