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London IPO market stalls as Blackstone shelves Merlin float

Blackstone has postponed plans to float Merlin Entertainments Group just 24 hours after postponing the flotation of Travelport, casting a shadow over London’s IPO market.

Opposition from City fund managers to participate in private equity-backed IPOs is one of the reasons for the postponements, the other being the lack of appetite for such flotations during a period of severe volatility in the markets, driving the Vix to three-month highs.

The IPO of New Look, owned by Apax and Permira, is being reviewed today by the board of New Look, which is scheduled to launch its prospectus on Monday.

Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were due to lead the Merlin IPO as joint global co-ordinators, with Deutsche Bank and Nomura acting as additional bookrunners. Blackstone, which owns slightly more than 50 per cent, was expected to sell down its holding in the IPO, with the level of its disposal depending on the price achieved.

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