The Business Times

Porsche attracts IPO demand at up to US$85b valuation

Published Fri, Aug 26, 2022 · 11:01 PM

PORSCHE has lined up investor interest for its initial public offering at a valuation of as much as US$85 billion, signalling one of Europe’s biggest-ever listings is poised to go ahead despite market headwinds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Volkswagen’s luxury brand has secured pre-orders that exceed the shares on offer at a valuation between 60 billion and 85 billion euros (S$118.5 billion), said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. Porsche plans to announce its intention to float in Frankfurt in the first week of September after supervisory board sign-off, barring unexpected market shocks, they said.

Big-name investors including T Rowe Price Group and Qatar Investment Authority have already indicated interest in subscribing to the IPO in that valuation range, the people said. Porsche has also been gauging interest from billionaires including the founder of energy drink maker Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, as well as LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, the people said.

VW’s preference shares jumped as much as 4.4% in Frankfurt trading Friday, the biggest intraday gain in more than a month. They were up 1% at 4.45 pm German time, giving the company a market value of about 84.7 billion euros.

Spokespeople for VW, Porsche, T Rowe Price and QIA declined to comment, while representatives for the other potential investors didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The high demand in the so-called shadow order book – which is built up ahead of the formal bids collected during the IPO roadshow – is a good sign for the listing that market observers hope will re-open Europe’s dormant IPO market.

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Many European and US institutional asset managers that typically invest in major German IPOs have so far shied away from making firm commitments due to corporate governance concerns, the people said. Still, Porsche has enough demand to nearly fill the shadow order book at the top end of the range and is oversubscribed at the lower end, the people said.

IPO investors will be sold preferred shares in Porsche that don’t carry voting rights. The powerful billionaire Porsche and Piech clan, which controls VW through voting stock, would receive a special dividend to fund buying a blocking minority stake in Porsche.

Capital market jitters amid Russia’s war against Ukraine and soaring energy prices and galloping inflation have cast doubts over Europe’s IPO market in general, which has been anemic year-to-date.

Some fund managers have in private conversations with Porsche’s management voiced concerns about the surprise appointment of the unit’s chief executive, Oliver Blume, to the helm of VW, which will continue to hold the bulk of its shares. BLOOMBERG

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