Media company and i2i Events owner, Ascential has announced plans for a listing on the London stock market. Analysts estimate such a move would value the company, formed from the ashes of Emap, at £800m (US$1,147m).
Ascential has reduced its debt burden (put at around £700m when it was acquired by Apax and Guardian Media Group in 2008 for £1bn), to around £410m today. And an initial public offering (IPO) could see that debt cut in half.
The company changed its name from Top Right Group to Ascential at the end of last year.
CEO Duncan Painter said: “As a team we have created an industry leading company for informing and connecting business professionals across our exhibitions, festivals and information services products. These essential products enable our customers to win business and operate more efficiently. By continuously focusing on supporting our customers’ growth and success, we have reinforced the market leadership positions held by the majority of our products.”
Ascential organises congresses, large exhibitions and festivals, with key products including the Cannes Lions advertising conference, Spring/Autumn Fair, Money20/20 (pictured) and Bett.
Painter added that an IPO would be “an exciting and logical step” as the company sought to continue its momentum. “I am both confident and excited about our future prospects as we progress towards becoming a listed company,” he added.
The group serves customers in more than 150 countries, with its headquarters in London, and offices in 14 countries and more than 1,500 full-time equivalent employees. In 2014, Ascential generated revenue of £312.7m and Adjusted EBITDA of £85.3m.
Ahead of the IPO, Ascential has appointed Scott Forbes to act as independent chairman of the board of directors.
“The business has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years, transformed by an experienced management team with a proven track record of delivering consistent growth, high margins and business improvement. I look forward to contributing to the next, exciting stage of Ascential’s development as a listed company,” said Forbes.