Panmure adopts unusual tactic in quiet IPO market

A video conference call

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LoopUp is a conference call software startup based in east London

Since the UK elected to exit the European Union in June 2016, just a handful of companies have floated in London, with just two – WideCells Group and Franchise Brands in late July – revealing plans to float and proceeding with those plans since the Brexit vote, according to data provider Dealogic.

A third company looks set to join them in August, after LoopUp, a conference call software startup based in east London, announced its intention to float on London’s junior market on August 8. Shares are expected to start trading by the end of the month.

The unusual timing – deciding to list in the aftermath of Brexit and in August, typically a very quiet period for IPOs – was matched by the route LoopUp took in arriving at its decision to float in a deal handled by Panmure Gordon, which will be nominated adviser and sole broker.

The broking firm’s lead banker on the deal, its head of technology, media and telecommunications Fred Walsh, told FN that Panmure Gordon got in touch with LoopUp about a potential float after using its product.

“I’ll probably never again have a situation where we are a client, and then they become a client of ours,” he said. “It wasn’t until we started using their product that we started looking at doing an IPO [for them] – the City market is a big part of their market. It’s pretty unusual to have a business that you’re a client of, that you then try and persuade to become a client of yours.”

Location also played a role in facilitating the deal, according to Walsh, whose firm is based near St Paul’s Cathedral, just a couple of miles from LoopUp’s offices close to London’s tech hub, known as Silicon Roundabout. “If they weren’t in Shoreditch it wouldn’t have been so easy [to persuade them].”

LoopUp, which is looking to raise £9 million from the listing, said it aims to “eliminate common frustrations associated with conference calls” and that its clients included Planet Hollywood, Cable & Wireless Communications and National Geographic, as well as finance sector stalwarts Permira and Kleinwort Benson. It added that Lady Barbara Judge, who chairs the Institute of Directors, will become its chairman after it floats.

The fact that LoopUp gets 45% of its revenues from the US – where it has offices in San Francisco, Boston and New York – helped it push on with the float plans despite the Brexit vote, Walsh said. The US accounts for more of its revenues than the UK (41%) and continental Europe (11%).

“Brexit has fundamentally changed our market, and it shouldn’t have,” he added. “There have been lots of deals pulled as a result of Brexit [but] this plucky brand from Shoreditch blends the best of Silicon Valley and Silicon Roundabout.”

Alongside Walsh, Panmure managing director Erik Anderson is also named on the deal, alongside colleagues William Wickham and Alina Vaskina.

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