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Bridgepoint stock soars 29% when it debuts




Shares of London-based private equity firm Bridgepoint rose 29% on their first day on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The initial public offering raised 300 million and is a rare listing from a European buyout company, which are more generally managed in the form of private partnerships. Shares jumped 350p to 452p at the end of the day, giving the company a valuation of 3.7 billion.

The money raised, says Bridgepoint, will be used to reduce debt and finance investments.

The publication of the Bridgepoints prospectus yesterday revealed that Archie Norman, the current chairman of Marks & Spencer and former boss of Asda, had received an initial fee of $ 1.75 million to join the Bridgepoints board of directors as as independent lead director.

In addition, he will also receive 200,000 annual compensation for the part-time role. Three other new non-executive directors, including Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, also received payouts of 500,000.

Bridgepoint, which has around $ 27.4 billion in assets, is best known as the former owner of the Pret a Manger sandwich chain. He currently owns stakes in the Itsu fast food chain, sportswear company Wiggle and the UK branch of Burger King.

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