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Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has mandated UBS AG (UBS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) as lead bankers to join Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) on the more than US$2.5 billion initial public offering in Singapore of its Formula One Group motorsport franchise, people familiar with the transaction said Wednesday.
The IPO, in which UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman, will be joint global coordinators, is slated for the second quarter of the year, the people said, and is set to be the biggest float in the city since Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing raised US$5.5 billion from listing his port operator Hutchison Port Holdings Trust in March last year.
Singapore's DBS Group Holdings Ltd. (D05.SG), Malaysia's CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (1023.KU), and Spain's Banco Santander S.A. (STD) will also be on the IPO as joint bookrunners, one of the people said.
Singapore was picked as the venue for the listing, over other Asian counterparts such as Hong Kong, because the city-state has been hosting Grand Prix racing since 2008 and is a home to a strong fan base for the sport, according to the people.
The listing of the Formula One franchiese comes at a time when CVC is looking to cash in on past investments amid equity markets that have stabilized after a turbulent 2011. The private equity firm recently said that two of its German portfolio companies--chemicals maker Evonik and Flint Group, the world's second-biggest maker of printing ink by sales--could list on the German stock exchange this year or next.
Singapore, traditionally a hub for both domestic and overseas property and business trusts and commodities-focused listings, has in recent years been pushing to attract high profile international brands to its bourse--the Singapore Exchange, following rival Hong Kong, whose foreign listings last year include that by Italian luxury house Prada SpA (1913.HK), which raised US$2.5 billion, and the US$10 billion IPO of Swiss commodities trader Glencore International, which also listed in London at the same time.
Among foreign brand contenders for a Singapore listing have been English Premier League football club Manchester United and health center Fitness First, but both delayed their planned IPOs scheduled for late last year amid the uncertainty around the eurozone debt crisis that had made markets volatile, people familiar with the situation said earlier. Manchester United, which like Formula One, has a strong following in Southeast Asia, had been looking to raise US$1 billion from its IPO, while private equity owned Fitness First had been seeking US$500 million.
These people say that with equities market now on the mend, these firms may once again revive their IPO plans this year.
CVC has owned 63% of SLEC Holdings, Formula One's holding company, since 2006. The private equity firm wasn't immediately available for comment.
-By P.R. Venkat, Dow Jones Newswires; +65-6415-4157; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Holmes contributed to this article.