Europe IPO Revival Peters Out as Year’s Top German Deal Delayed

BC Partners-Backed Springer Nature Is Said to Delay German IPO

The nascent revival in European initial public offerings is already starting to peter out after a brief burst of activity.

Academic publisher Springer Nature has decided to postpone what would have been Germany’s biggest IPO in more than a year, people familiar with the matter said. The company, backed by buyout firm BC Partners, is delaying the listing because of market conditions, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Springer Nature had been aiming to kick off the offering this autumn and was planning to sell about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) of new stock, Bloomberg News previously reported. The company, which is co-owned by family-run Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, was considering seeking a valuation of about 7 billion euros, a person with knowledge of the matter has said.

Commercial real estate firm Epic Suisse AG said last week it’s shelved a planned listing in Zurich. Serial dealmaker Martin Franklin also failed to pull off a planned London share sale for his new blank-check company.

Europe IPO Revival Peters Out as Year’s Top German Deal Delayed

The latest delays follow lackluster debuts in September by the two largest IPOs on the Frankfurt exchange this year. Camper van and mobile home maker Knaus Tabbert AG slashed the size of its offering and saw its shares drop on their first trading day. Hensoldt AG, a defense supplier backed by KKR & Co.-backed military supplier also fell on its debut after pricing a 400 million-euro share sale at the bottom of a marketed range.

Europe’s listing window may close earlier than usual in 2020. Companies generally try to tap investors before it gets too close to Christmas, and many this year have wanted to get out even sooner to avoid clashing with the U.S. presidential election in November. Volatility has already started rising with less than a month to go before Americans hit the polls, especially since Donald Trump announced he’d contracted coronavirus.

Springer Nature was created in 2015 through the merger of BC Partners-owned Springer Science+Business Media with the majority of Macmillan Science and Education, controlled by Holtzbrinck. The combined company reported revenue of 1.72 billion euros in 2019, according to its website. The company employs about 10,000 people in more than 50 countries.

A spokesperson for BC Partners declined to comment. Representatives for Holtzbrinck and Springer Nature didn’t respond to requests for comment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.