City & Corporate: Amadeus seeks help for IPO deal

Financial agencies in running to win brief for travel firm Amadeus' planned IPO.

Amadeus, the biggest processor of travel bookings in the world, is on the hunt for a financial PR agency to support its planned IPO next year.

The Spanish-based firm, valued at around £7.3bn (EUR8bn), has held discussions with a number of UK financial consultancies in advance of a Madrid-listing.

The company, controlled by private-equity firms BC Partners and Cinven Group, is understood to have heard pitches for the project brief during late October.

It is also believed that the agencies involved pitched to a panel including the deal's investment banking adviser Rothschild.

Agencies thought to be pitching for the account include Brunswick, FD, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Cardew Group and a small number of specialist Spanish agencies.

The firm previously used FD for comms work for around six years, before handing a retained account to Bite PR earlier this year after a six-agency review.

Sources with knowledge of the process suggested FD was well positioned to take the potentially lucrative brief, given its previous relationship with the firm.

It is believed the deal, set to be one of Spain's largest IPOs, would involve Amadeus' owners raising around EUR2bn from the sale of new and existing shares.

Amadeus' international media relations manager Daniel Greaves declined to confirm the pitch and the firm has yet to officially announce its intention to float.

However, reports suggest that Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are already in place as bookrunners.

The IPO is not expected until 2010, but is further indication of improving conditions in the international capital markets.

The news also coincides with reports that Blackstone-owned Travelport, strongly tipped to merge with Amadeus post-flotation, also plans to revive its pre-credit crunch IPO. Travelport has worked with Finsbury since its acquisition of Worldspan in late 2006 and the firm is thought to be unlikely to pitch out its forthcoming flotation.

The pair are among an increasing flow of names preparing for European listings - many coming from private equity owners.

The latest name linked with flotation is financial services firm Gartmore, while Aviva is pushing ahead with the flotation of its Dutch unit Delta Lloyd.

HOW I SEE IT - Gay Collins, Chief executive, Penrose Financial

Nervousness about market conditions means speed is now paramount for an IPO. Commitments are being closed faster in case there is a dip in the market.

Inflows are still slow to materialise; most investors are having to sell stock to invest in placings. This is why it is so important for the investment rationale to be communicated.

Capturing the imagination of the media and investors is key. Announcements are concentrated into an action-packed conveyor belt of activity. It is vital to install a top-level, experienced team to keep on top of that.

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