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Exit: BC Partners seeks billion-dollar IPO for Springer Nature

16. April 2018

Frank­furt — Sprin­ger Nature will in all likeli­hood be the next major IPO in Frank­furt. Sprin­ger Nature gene­ra­ted sales of 1.6 billion euros in 2017 and is owned by the Holtz­brinck publi­shing group, which holds 53 percent of the shares, and the finan­cial inves­tor BC Part­ners. The private equity house had acqui­red the prede­ces­sor company named Sprin­ger Science in 2013 for 3.3 billion euros from the then owner EQT. The PE inves­tor had acqui­red the prede­ces­sor company Sprin­ger Science in summer 2013 for €3.3 billion. Even then, the then owner EQT — also a private equity inves­tor — had also consi­de­red an IPO in paral­lel with the M&A transaction.

The Berlin-based publi­shing house, which has a large site in Heidel­berg, announ­ced that it plans to list on the Regu­la­ted Market (Prime Stan­dard) of the Frank­furt Stock Exchange. Sprin­ger did not provide any infor­ma­tion on the timing of the IPO on Friday.

While Holtz­brinck does not want to divest itself of shares in the course of the IPO, BC Part­ners could reduce its stake in Sprin­ger Nature, accord­ing to a press release from the company. This would depend on the market envi­ron­ment. BC Part­ners has injec­ted 494 million euros of equity into Sprin­ger Science.

Sprin­ger Nature wants to reduce debts
Sprin­ger Nature says it intends to use the IPO proceeds to become more finan­cially flexi­ble and to open up the option of finan­cing via the equity market. In addi­tion, the publis­her aims to reduce the net debt ratio to 3.5 times the earnings before inte­rest, taxes, depre­cia­tion and amor­tiz­a­tion (Ebitda) from 2017 adjus­ted for high recur­ring and conti­nuing investments.

Accord­ing to company infor­ma­tion, net finan­cial debt most recently amoun­ted to 3 billion euros, and adjus­ted Ebitda was 551 million euros in 2017. The IPO would reduce the debt burden to 2 billion euros, a spokes­wo­man told FINANCE.

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