KKR to walk Pets At Home to market

This morning has seen confirmation that KKR, the US-based private equity firm, will launch a listing of Pets At Home, the UK’s biggest pet supplies retailer, on the London Stock Exchange. 

Speculation has been rife since November last year that this would be the plan for the company which KKR acquired back in March 2010 for just over £950m from Bridgepoint Capital.  The announcement this morning follows a statement yesterday by Poundland that it too would be applying to list on the London Stock Exchange, again providing a potential full or partial exit for its private equity owners, Warburg Pincus. 

At the moment, IPOs of British retailers seem to be the “in vogue” exit strategy for their private equity backers, with 12 of the 18 UK retailers linked to a flotation in the last 18 months owned by buyout groups. Of those that have so far completed, Conviviality Retail, better known as Bargain Booze, and Bonmarché, have raised around GBP 64 million and GBP 40 million, respectively, for ECI Partners and Sun European Partners. 

Both of these listings raised much smaller figures than those being eyed for Pets At Home – GBP 1.5 billion and GBP 300 million, respectively - but even so, have proved that there does appear to be consumer demand for shares in retailers.