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What Follows Dollar General? 15 More PE-Backed IPO Candidates

First Avago Technologies sets its IPO terms. Then came S-1 filings from Vitamin Shoppe, Emdeon and Bayview Mortgage Capital. Then comes today’s news that discount retailer Dollar General has its registration on standby. A storm after months of calm, and we’re left wondering about what tomorrow might bring.

It’s entirely possible that we’ll see a growing number of PE-backed companies gearing up for public market listings. Look no further than the likes of Rosetta Stone, backed by ABS Capital, and Bridgepoint Education, backed by Warburg Pincus, to see that this year’s small handful of buyout-backed IPOs have performed relatively well (on the venture side, it’s even more hopeful). If Dollar General sees a warm reception even with its approximate 4x leverage, it may break the seal for more mega-buyouts to test the waters.

So cheer up, mega-buyout investors! Even though your stakes are worth next to nothing on the secondary market, some realizations may be heading your way. Even the Economist thinks so:

Perhaps the exit market, which in the first half of this year has raised only $21 billion, compared with $115 billion in the first half of 2008 (according to Dealogic), is past its worst.

Below is a list of some potential PE-backed candidates for IPO, gathered from various reports, both speculative and analytical in nature. Many of the examples I came up with are European or Australian. Feel free to pipe up in the comments with other US-based candidates.

1. HCA Inc. (Bain Capital, KKR and Merrill Lynch)

After the company’s value was written up last quarter by its PE backers, reports have speculated that healthcare reform could be a catalyst for the hospital operator to go public for as much as $13 billion.

2. TDC AS (Apax Partners, Blackstone Group, KKR, Permira, Providence Equity Partners)

The Danish telecommunications operator has held preliminary discussions but made no decisions yet, according to a Dow Jones report.

3. Birds Eye (Permira)

Multiple reports have mentioned the frozen food business as a potential IPO candidate. Permira purchased the company from Unilever in 2006 for £1bn.

4. United Biscuits (Blackstone Group, PAI Partners)

The British company was also named as an IPO candidate. Blackstone and PAI purchased the company in 2006 from Cinven and MidOcean Partners for £1.6bn.

5. Pets at Home (Bridgepoint)

The business is actively considering an IPO for the pet-shop chain that it bought for £230 million in 2005. According to reports, the firm has held talks with several banks about its IPO options.

6. Focus Brands (Roark Capital)

The PE owner of this franchisor and operator of mall food vendors recently went on CNN to discuss the success of its “cheap eats” company, which it purchased in 2007. Meanwhile the president of Cinnabon, one of the company’s brands, recently moved on board as a GP with Roark.

7. Dunkin Brands (Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and THL Partners.)

The company may look like it’s taken a hit thanks to some of its franchise operators going bankrupt, but that is a small part of the global, 15,000-store business. Last year the company’s sales grew by 5% to $6.9 billion

8. Education Management Corp. (Providence Equity Partners, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Leeds Equity Partners)

The Pittsburgh-based education company may follow in the footsteps of its successful industry peers. The buyout consortia purchased the company for $3.4 billion in 2006.

9. Weetabix (Lion Capital)

The company was mentioned in a list of private equity-backed IPO candidates with no apparent reasoning behind it. Lion Capoitla purchased the business for £640 million in 2003.

10. Acromas (CVC Capital, Charterhouse, Permira)

Britain’s second-largest PE-backed company recently reported a 10% growth in operating profits.

11. Toys R Us (Bain Capital, KKR, Vornado Real Estate)

The chain saw one competitor, KB Toys, liquidate last year. The company likely earned its owners a dividend of some sort via sale-leaseback, and with a stable non-investment grade B S&P rating, the company *may* be a candidate.

12. Rebel Sport (Archer Capital)

The Australian sports retailer was acquired by Archer Capital in 2007 for A$400m (US$311m). Reports estimated it would file to IPO in the coming six months to a year.

14. Hoyts Cinema (Pacific Equity Partners)

The Australian company was acquired for A$440m (US$342m).

15. Red Rooster (Quadrant Capital)

The Australian restaurant operator was also named as an IPO candidate. The business was acquired for A$180m (US$140m).

And here are those that have officially filed in recent weeks:

  • China Pacific Insurance, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, will relaunch its Hong Kong IPO.
  • Ladder Capital Finance, a New York-based specialty finance company backed by GI Partners and Towerbrook Capital Partners, filed for a $400 million IPO.
  • Avago, backed by KKR and Silver Lake Partners
  • Vitamin Shoppe, backed by Irving Place Capital
  • Emdeon, backed by Hellman & Friedman and General Atlantic
  • Bayview Mortgage Capital, backed by Blackstone.

UPDATE: I’ve posted two more IPO candidates here.

Previously: Exit Drought: When Have Mega-Fund LPs Last Seen A Distribution?