PE-Owned ISS Plans $2.4B IPO

Danish outsourcing group ISS, which is owned by Goldman Sachs and Swedish buyout firm EQT, is planning to raised 13.3 billion Danish crowns ($2.41 billion) in a public offering, Reuters reported. Last month, ISS’s backers ended talks with private equity shop Apax Partners about a potential $8.5 billion buyout.

(Reuters) – The private equity owners of Danish outsourcing group ISS plan to raise around 13.3 billion Danish crowns ($2.41 billion) via a share offering in Europe’s biggest IPO this year so far if it goes ahead.

Last month, ISS’ owners Goldman Sachs and Swedish buyout firm EQT broke off talks on an $8.5 billion takeover by private equity firm Apax on disagreement over price.

Investors had believed the owners aim was to exit the business, but Thursday’s announcement said the flotation involved new shares and would pay down debt. ISS, one of the world’s biggest private-sector employers with more than 500,000 workers, said the offering, which would have ranked number three in Europe last year, would re-introduce the group on the Copenhagen bourse.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been appointed joint global coordinators, ISS said in a statement.

“The contemplated IPO is expected to support ISS’ future growth and operational strategy, advance the company’s public and commercial profile,” ISS said.

The issue would also improve access to capital markets, it said.

The Copenhagen share market saw several private equity-backed flotations last year, swallowing the $2.1 billion IPO of Danish jewellery maker Pandora and a $2.2 billion re-listing by telecoms group TDC in the fourth quarter — two of Europe’s biggest equity offerings of 2010.

(Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by Andrew Callus)