February 6, 2019 / 3:51 PM / 16 days ago

Exclusive: Sweden's EQT may sell €1 billion stake in Stockholm IPO - sources

STOCKHOLM/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - EQT, the largest private equity firm in the Nordic region, is planning a Stockholm listing that could take place in the third quarter with the aim of raising about 1 billion euros (£878 million), three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A stake of about 25 percent could be sold in an initial public offering (IPO), potentially valuing EQT at about 4 billion euros, the sources told Reuters, declining to be named because the plans were private.

The company has previously said it was considering options to strengthen its balance sheet but it had not indicated whether this would involve an IPO and has not indicated a specific timing, the stake to be offered or any potential valuation.

Marcus Brennecke, partner and co-head of EQT’s advisory team, said on Wednesday that EQT had hired JP Morgan and SEB to assist with a possible IPO or “something else” this year if the market environment was right.

He did not give further details.

The first source told Reuters that a listing of EQT could be in the second quarter “if all stars align” but was more likely to be in the third quarter. He said no final decision had been taken on an IPO and all options were still open.

Despite investor concerns about a U.S.-Chinese trade row and Brexit, another source said EQT was still drawing interest because of its involvement in a range of industries and broad geographic presence, with offices in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The trade row and concerns about whether Britain will leave the European Union with a deal on its future relations with the bloc have hit other private equity firms in recent months, so an IPO by EQT will be watched closely.

Listed private equity funds are relatively rare in Europe, with the majority in the United States, where firms such as Blackstone, KKR and Carlyle have been able to diversify and style themselves as alternative asset managers.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair

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