Deliveroo expected to price London IPO at bottom of range after some funds steer clear

Hundreds of riders are expected to refuse to make deliveries when the shares begin trading.
Hundreds of riders are expected to refuse to make deliveries when the shares begin trading.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Food-delivery start-up Deliveroo Holdings is likely to price shares in its initial public offering (IPO) at £3.90 each, the bottom of the range at which they were marketed, as reluctant investors and nervous markets weigh on London's biggest listing this year.

The sale will raise £1.5 billion (S$2.8 billion) at that price, assuming the company and its shareholders sell all of the 384.6 million shares on offer, below the £1.77 billion that Deliveroo could have garnered at the high end of the range. Books on the offering close on Tuesday (March 30) at 1pm London time, according to terms on the expected pricing seen by Bloomberg News, with trading to begin on Wednesday.

Deliveroo's offering, which will value the company at £7.6 billion, has been plagued by a growing list of funds saying they won't buy shares over concerns that the company's treatment of couriers doesn't align with responsible investing practices. Hundreds of riders are also expected to refuse to make deliveries when the shares begin trading on Wednesday.

Some institutions have also baulked at the company's dual-class share structure, which will give chief executive officer Will Shu outsized voting rights for three years, saying it throws up issues around corporate governance.

Deliveroo has orders for multiple times the number of shares on offer, and 30 per cent of the deal has been reserved for three anchor investors, a person familiar with the transaction said.

Although the company has been pitching its lockdown gains to investors, shares of peers such as Just Eat Takeaway.com, Delivery Hero and meal-kit maker HelloFresh have fallen this year as the vaccine roll-out has raised hopes of economies reopening.

The protests and public shunning of the IPO have put a damper on what was seen as a flagship offering for London after Brexit. The city has worked hard to highlight its status as a global financial centre, studying ways to attract more high-growth listings like Deliveroo and bring the market closer in line with heavyweights New York and Hong Kong.

But the tepid response to Deliveroo is a blow to the government's impending revamp of the UK listing rules, which include proposals like allowing dual-class share structures on the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, London is still haemorrhaging unicorns to New York, like used-car platform Cazoo and medical startup Babylon, which is said to weigh floating in the US.

Deliveroo on Monday narrowed the price range to £3.90 to £4.10 a share, in the lower half of an indicative range of £3.90 to £4.60. At the high end of the original target, the company would have had a stock market value of £8.8 billion.

There are other signs that the buoyant IPO market at the start of the year is beginning to lose steam. One week ago, Danish consumer-review site Trustpilot Group disappointed in its debut, erasing gains of as much as 16 per cent. The stock is now trading below its offer price.

Other deals have been pulled altogether. The owners of GV Gold PJSC, a Russian miner backed by BlackRock, put its IPO on indefinite hold on Monday, days after Belgian soccer team Club Brugge postponed a Brussels listing. Italy's Leonardo also cancelled the US IPO of its DRS unit last Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co are joint global coordinators on Deliveroo's offering, while Bank of America, Citigroup, Jefferies and Numis Securities are joint bookrunners.