London Share Sales Hit $11.3 Billion Year-to-Date, Dwarfing Paris Despite IPO Slowdown

London Outshines European Rivals in Share Sales, Affirming Its Dominance
London Share Sales
London Share Sales

In a year marked by economic uncertainty, London has reaffirmed its status as Europe's premier venue for share sales in listed companies. Despite a slowdown in initial public offerings (IPOs), according to Bloomberg's data, the city has witnessed a remarkable $11.3 billion in equity deals so far in 2024, reflecting a 24% increase from the previous year. This impressive performance underscores London's enduring allure and robust financial infrastructure.

While global economic conditions, including rising inflation and interest rates, have tempered market activity since 2022, London's equity market remains a bastion of strength. "We are well ahead of the other markets that we are often contrasted with, be it Amsterdam, be it Frankfurt," noted Dru Danford, head of investment banking at London-based stockbroker Liberum. "London outperforms all those European competitors."

Major Equity Deals and Market Dynamics

The substantial equity sales figure for London has been driven by two significant sell-downs. GSK Plc divested its remaining 12.9% stake in Haleon Plc, the maker of Panadol painkillers, garnering approximately £3.9 billion ($4.9 billion). Additionally, the former owners of Refinitiv, which was acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group Plc for $27 billion in 2021, sold their remaining stake for £1.6 billion.

Beyond these headline deals, London has seen robust activity with share sales involving over 60 companies this year, in stark contrast to Paris and Frankfurt, which saw activity from only 12 and four firms, respectively. This highlights London's pivotal role in the European equity capital market, even amid a global downturn in fundraising.

Noteworthy Transactions and Market Movements

Among the notable transactions this year, real estate group Segro Plc and utility company Pennon Group Plc have raised funds through follow-on offerings. Other significant deals include share sales by auto parts maker TI Fluid Systems Plc and greetings card retailer Moonpig Group Plc. Additionally, Delivery Hero SE's £83 million stake sale in Deliveroo Plc stands out as a key transaction.

In comparison, Paris has recorded $3.4 billion in fundraising, driven by major share sales from Sartorius Stedim Biotech and French investment firm Wendel SE. Despite these activities, London's market remains the most active in Europe by daily traded value.

Challenges and Future Prospects

While London's IPO market has been subdued, with its share of new offerings dwindling to just 2%, there are promising signs on the horizon. Reports suggest that China-founded fashion retailer Shein is planning a substantial London offering, and British personal computer-maker Raspberry Pi is considering a UK share sale.

Despite some companies, such as construction supplier CRH Plc and gambling group Flutter Plc, shifting their primary listings to the US for higher valuations, London retains its stature as a global financial hub. "Ultimately, the market we’re really up against is New York," remarked Danford, emphasizing the broader competitive landscape.

As London continues to adapt and evolve amidst economic challenges, its dominance in share sales underscores the city's enduring appeal and sophisticated financial ecosystem. For high-net-worth individuals and discerning investors, London's market remains a critical hub of activity and opportunity, embodying resilience and elegance in the ever-changing financial landscape.

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