New Star delays float as markets remain flat

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The Independent Online

New Star Asset Management - the fund manager founded by the flamboyant City entrepreneur John Duffield - has put its plans for an autumn flotation on hold, following continued flat performance in the UK's equity markets.

New Star Asset Management - the fund manager founded by the flamboyant City entrepreneur John Duffield - has put its plans for an autumn flotation on hold, following continued flat performance in the UK's equity markets.

Earlier this year, the group announced plans to list on the London market in September or October. However, after talking to its advisers, HSBC, and its own fund managers - who have been studying the prospects of other companies currently proposing to come to market - it has decided to postpone the float.

Howard Covington, the chief executive, said that although New Star remained committed to a float, it was in no hurry. He said it was more important for the firm to launch its initial public offering when market conditions were benign, rather than risk getting off to a sluggish start by rushing into the float.

The company is expected to have a market value of up to £400m, with its current investors - mainly employees and a handful of financial advisers - only allowed to sell up to 10 per cent of their stake at the flotation, and no more for the following three years. Mr Duffield's stake in the firm is thought to be worth about £80m.

The postponement of New Star's float may also give the firm time to put the Financial Services Authority's investigation into split-capital investment trusts behind it. In spite of having just one split-cap trust, New Star is one of 21 companies being investigated by the FSA in relation to allegations of market collusion in the sector.

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