IPOs 1: Secondary buyouts 0

On Friday ISS, the Danish facilities management multinational, announced it was no longer talking to private equity house Apax regarding a €6.4bn institutional buyout and is now pursuing an IPO.

This is an interesting U-turn by Goldman and EQT, ISS's current private equity shareholders, which had been approached by a number of private equity firms regarding a secondary buyout as an exit strategy for the company they invested in back in June 2005.

If the deal had proceeded with a sale to Apax then it would have been one of the largest PE investments since the credit crisis and by far the largest secondary buyout in the last three years.

2010 saw a number of significant exits via secondary buyouts and was certainly more popular as an exit route than via IPOs. That said there were also a few significant exits via IPOs, including Axel & Prometheus's exit of Pandora A/s, BC Partners’s exit of Amadeus IT and Brenntag, and Providence Equity Partners’s exit of Kabel Deutschland.

If the IPO of ISS proceeds then the first major exit of the year will be to the capital markets rather than to a secondary buyout.

Filed under: IPOs, PE, exit