Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Top of the market? - part 6

I know I should probably reign in the chest beating but global stock markets are down almost 20pc since last spring's highs, so perhaps my "top of the market" series was useful to readers after all.

And I couldn't help but notice that a company that was taken private at the top of the last bull market (i.e in 2007) is floating just as the stock market (potentially) flirts with its the latest "top".

Ascential, which was formerly known as Top Right Group, announced today it will float in London with a market capitalisation of about £800 million.

In case you don't recall, Ascential/Top Right Group used to be called Emap. Emap was taken private by private equity firm Apax and the Guardian Media Group for just over £1 billion at the height of the credit boom in 2007.

So, arguably it hasn't been a superb investment for both Apax and the Guardian Media Group.

On another note, the ChemChina / Syngenta deal also familiar "top of the market" feel to it. Indeed, the last time I remember a state-backed entity trying to pull off such an audacious transaction was in 2007 when the Qatari sovereign wealth fund attempted a £12 billion leveraged buy-out of J Sainsbury.

That ended in tears when the credit markets imploded and the Qataris pulled mid-way through due diligence.

No wonder, then, Syngenta has been trading at a big discount to the ChemChina offer price...


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