COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

22 September 2021 | Business

Mattress files confidentially for US IPO

Mattress Firm Group Inc, the mattress selling business of South African retail group Steinhoff, on Monday confidentially filed paperwork with regulators for an initial public offering in the United States.

Steinhoff International Holdings said in August it was evaluating options, including a public listing, for Mattress Firm, which is the leading specialty mattress retailer in the United States.

The Texas-based mattress retailer emerged from bankruptcy in 2018 two months after it filed for Chapter 11 protection, with access to US$525 million in exit financing. It also closed about 660 underperforming stores, Steinhoff said at the time.

Steinhoff, whose balance sheet revealed multi-billion-euro holes in 2017, has since then been reducing group debt, financing costs and restructuring the debt of some of its units through asset sales and public listings.

Mattress Firm sells mattresses both online and through more than 2 500 stores across 49 states in the United States, its website showed as of January 2019.-Nampa/Reuters

Universal Music valued around US$39 bln

Universal Music Group, the business behind singers such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and The Weekend, is valued at around 33.5 billion euros (US$39.30 billion) ahead of the record label's stock market debut in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

France's Vivendi is spinning off Universal and on Monday set a reference price for the listing at 18.5 euros per share, according to a statement issued by Euronext.

Universal Music Group's listing will be Europe's largest this year and will hand 60% of shares to Vivendi shareholders.

Universal is betting that a boom in streaming led by Spotify that has fuelled royalty revenue and profit growth for several years still has a long way to run, in a music industry it dominates along with Warner and Sony Music, part of Sony Group Corp.

Its flotation carries high stakes for Canal+ owner Vivendi, which hopes to rid itself of a conglomerate discount. However, the listing raises questions about Vivendi's strategy once its parts ways with its cash cow, in which it will retain only a 10% stake. -Nampa/Reuters

Partners Group raises US$15 bln

Partners Group Holding AG told Reuters on Monday it raised US$15 billion for a private equity program to invest in assets such as technology, healthcare, and consumer goods companies.

Partners Group amassed US$6 billion for its fourth flagship direct equity fund and an additional $9 billion through separately managed accounts investing alongside the fund, Partners Group Chief Executive David Layton said in an interview.

There has been a flurry of dealmaking by private equity firms seeking to take advantage of economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Partners Group said its new private equity program has already invested about US$6 billion to acquire stakes in 17 companies.

They include Reedy Industries, a Deerfield, Illinois-based industrial firm, women's healthcare provider Axia Women's Health, and European drugmaker Pharmathen, which Partners Group acquired from BC Partners for 1.6 billion euros (US$1.89 billion) in July. -Nampa/Reuters

Freshworks raises US IPO price range

Freshworks Inc on Monday raised its target price range for a US initial public offering, which could bring up the valuation of the business and customer engagement software company to nearly $9.6 billion.

The San Mateo, California-based company expects to raise US$969 million at the top end of its new price range of US$32 to US$34 per share, up from US$28 to US$32 per share earlier.

Reuters reported in April that Freshworks, which competes with Salesforce.com Inc, could be valued at around US$10 billion in a stock market debut.

Freshworks' technology is used by more than 50 000 companies in 120 countries, including high-profile names such as Delivery Hero SE, Vice Media and Swedish payments firm Klarna.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Bofa Securities are the lead underwriters for the Freshworks offering. -Nampa/Reuters

Iberia to negotiate furlough with unions

Spanish airline Iberia will seek to negotiate furlough deals directly with unions should Spain's force majeure government furlough scheme, set to expire at the end of September, not be extended for the aviation sector, the company said on Monday.

The airline, which is owned by IAG and recently bought struggling Spanish rival Air Europa in a cut-price deal, said that it would propose a furlough to workers citing "organisational and productive causes". It did not give further details of what any possible deal could entail.

"The slowdown of the economic recovery and the growing uncertainty as to whether, and under which conditions, the force majeure furloughs will apply to the aerial sector have spurred Iberia to begin negotiations with its labour unions," the company said in a statement.

The airline added that it continued to operate 30-35% below pre-pandemic levels, largely due to the restrictions on tourism towards the United States, Latin America, Japan and China. -Nampa/Reuters

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