(Reuters) — Investment bankers put on their best business attire to pitch luxury department store operator Neiman Marcus Group Inc for underwriter roles in an initial public offering. Yet more than a month after their beauty parade, banks are still in the dark.
At stake for bankers are not just tens of millions of dollars in underwriting fees, but assignments in what was expected to be one of this year’s biggest and most high-profile IPOs in the United States.
“For a marquee name such as Neiman Marcus, it is not just the fees you generated, but the ability to leverage that name. Everybody knows the name Neiman Marcus, whether you shop there or not,” said Timothy Golomb, executive director at Dresner Corporate Services, an investor relations and IPO advisory firm.
Neiman Marcus’ delay in handing out roles finds IPO bankers already on the edge, with many of their deals having frozen due to the stock market turmoil that started last month. Among other high-profile IPOs that are waiting in wings are Spanish language broadcaster Univision Holdings Inc and payments processor First Data Corp.
While Neiman Marcus has not provided a reason for the holdup to banks, carrying out underwriter interviews without following up with appointments is rare in investmentbanking, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.
“It’s like getting engaged without getting married,” one banking source said.
Neiman Marcus, which also operates under the Bergdorf Goodman and MyTheresa brands, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 4 for an IPO, close to two years after private equity firm Ares Management LLC (ARES.N) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board acquired it for $6 billion.
Earlier this month, Neiman Marcus reported that its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were $710.6 million in the 12 months to Aug. 1, slightly up from $698.4 million the year prior.