Virgin Media prepares for London listing to attract new UK investors
Tuesday 29 September 2009
Virgin Media is pushing ahead with plans to take a secondary listing in the UK as it looks to raise its domestic profile and the number of its investors. The company, which provides television, broadband and telephone packages to customers in the UK, is listed on the Nasdaq stock market in the US.
Virgin revealed earlier this year that it was considering a secondary listing in London and yesterday it announced an "intention to proceed". It has called in the investment bank Goldman Sachs to run the process.
Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media, said the company was at an "inflection point" after a robust financial performance and was "extremely attractive" for investors. "Our products are not just high value, but a must-have," he claimed.
Fewer than 10 per cent of Virgin Media's existing shareholders are based in the UK, and the ability to buy its shares in sterling will make it more attractive to British investors. "We started to think about our UK investor base and broadening it. We are testing local appetite," Mr Berkett added.
He would not be drawn on whether Virgin Media might completely switch its listing to the UK, saying that was something for "further down the line". Virgin will not issue new shares for the listing. "This is not a capital raising exercise," Mr Berkett said.
It is only the fifth company to take a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange in the past decade, and Mr Berkett said there was "no precedent for a company taking a secondary listing in its home market". The shares will not be eligible for the FTSE's indices, but with a market cap of $4bn (£2.5bn) in the US it would most likely have made the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
Virgin has lodged its prospectus to admit shares with the Official List at the Financial Services Authority. It will begin trading on Thursday under the ticker symbol VMED. "Nasdaq will remain the core centre of liquidity," Mr Berkett added.
Virgin was formed out of NTL and Telewest, which were both listed in the US, and Virgin Mobile. It was rebranded as Virgin Media three years ago.
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