Jan 18, 2021
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Owners mulls float for buoyant Very Group - report

Jan 18, 2021

Online retail giant Very Group could be the next big name in line for an IPO with a report that its owners, who also own the Telegraph newspaper, are exploring the potential of a £3 billion+ stock market float.

The Very Group

The reclusive Barclay family are still in the early stages of considering their options, Sky News reported, with no decision likely to come soon.

The news organisation quoted sources close to the family saying an IPO was being considered more seriously than ever before. But it’s not yet clear whether bankers have been appointed. It’s also unclear whether the unexpected death of Sir David Barclay last week, who built the wider Barclay business empire with his twin brother Sir Frederick, would affect any plans. Sir David’s son Aidan is currently Very Group chairman.

It would be an interesting move for the family as a public listing would put the business’s dealings firmly in the public sphere and the Barclays are well known for keeping their operations as private as possible.

It’s not the first time the owners have looked at selling all or part of the business with an abortive attempt to sell it for around £3 billion in 2017 when it was know as Shop Direct. There were also reports in autumn 2019 that a sale was being considered, or a new investor being sought to take a stake in the firm.

But an IPO in the wake of the pandemic could be a good move. The fashion sector may have suffered, but Very Group sells a wide range of product categories and like other pureplay e-tailers, it has benefited from the online shift in the past 10 months.

A trading update last week had shown how strongly it has come through recent months with the Very operation being the star performer (it also owns Littlewoods).

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