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Trainline’s private equity backers make a speedy exit

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KKR has sold out of Trainline in double-quick time. After getting rid of a bunch of its shares in September, the US private equity group has offloaded its remaining stake in the transport booking app less than five months after it IPO’d the company. Trainline’s other private equity backers, Index Ventures, Ares and Alven Capital, have also got out.

The price KKR and others got for the rump of their Trainline shares is less than the price at which they sold two months ago — then they bagged 435p a share, now only 410p. But it still compares favourably to the 350p a share at which Trainline floated in June, and the level at which KKR was able to attract interest in the private markets.

Trainline’s IPO has been one of the most successful of the limited crop of London listings this year. Its private equity backers were always bound for a speedy exit. But that they have done so quite so quickly — before the end of a six-month lock-up, waived by the underwriting banks in this case — might give investors pause.


A busy day for earnings on Tuesday.

Vodafone has upgraded its profit guidance for the year, with a little help from some M&A. The telecoms group said it now expects its adjusted earnings to be between €14.8bn and €15.0 billion, up from a previous range of €13.8bn to €14.2bn. It got around a €800m boost from the acquisition of assets from Liberty Global, and the sale of its New Zealand business, which helped offset problems in India, a longstanding source of woes for the telecoms group. Vodafone said it had returned to growth in the second quarter of its financial year as trading in South Africa, Spain and Italy improved. But it still posted a €1.9bn loss for the first six months of the year, driven by writedowns in the Indian business.

Landsec, the UK’s biggest listed property company by portfolio value, says it is “resilient” in the face of “unsettled” market conditions. Despite reporting a £147m pre-tax loss in the six months to September as retail parks came under pressure, it is pressing ahead with new developments. Chief executive Robert Noel said the developer has workers on site at 1m square feet of new London developments as the capital’s office market has defied Brexit gloom. The outlook is less bright for retail, however: Landsec predicted the market would remain challenging amid structural change.

ITV said total advertising revenue — a key source of revenues — was at the top end of its guidance in the third quarter of the year, climbing 1 per cent year-on-year. Its content business, ITV studios, is benefiting from a strong second-half delivery schedule, the company said. That will boost the end of 2019, but hit performance in 2020, ITV said.

Finally discount retailer B&M, one of the UK’s retail success stories, has said it is reviewing its operations in Germany. it took a £59.5m impairment charge in relation to the Jawoll business there after “continued disappointing performance”. Pre-tax profits fell 71 per cent to £32m.

Job moves

Allianz Global Investors’ chief executive Andreas Utermann is leaving after just under four years in sole charge of the asset manager. The 53-year-old said on Monday he was stepping down to spend more time with his “still relatively young family”. He will be replaced at the end of the year by Tobias Pross, the company’s global head of distribution. Mr Utermann’s departure means a shift in leadership location from London to Munich, where the fund manager’s parent insurer, Allianz, is based.

BNP Paribas has moved to replenish its European credit trading desk after a raft of departures over the summer. It announced six new hires on Monday, all of whom are due to join the bank in London by January next year. Ankur Agarwarl, who joins from HSBC, will be head of loan trading.

Finally, Credit Suisse named David Miller as the new head of its investment banking and capital markets business. The 22-year veteran of the Swiss bank replaces James Amine as the lender looks to improve performance at the division.

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Beyond the Square Mile

Pedestrians pass in front of a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. store in downtown Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on October 20. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the $70bn drugstore chain, has received a buyout proposal from the private equity group KKR. The approach comes just three years after KKR sold the last of its shares in Walgreens from a previous buyout and, if completed, would be the biggest private equity transaction on record. But the deal would be a big test for the debt markets.

Cerberus, the US private equity firm, has lost faith in Deutsche Bank’s chairman Paul Achleitner and is pushing for him to be replaced, according to sources familiar with the relationship. Relations between Cerberus, which is Deutsche’s third-largest shareholder with a 3 per cent stake, and the German lender have deteriorated since it ended merger talks with rival Commerzbank in April.

WeWork has held talks with T-Mobile USA boss John Legere to become its new chief executive. The move to hire a new chief executive from outside raises questions about the prospects for Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, the two WeWork insiders elevated to co-CEOs to replace Adam Neumann, co-founder, after the company’s failed flotation in September.

Boeing said it was “possible” it could resume deliveries of its 737 Max jet to customers in December, but added that this was still dependent on approval and certifications from the Federal Aviation Authority and other regulators. Investors welcomed the update, however, and lifted Boeing shares more than 5 per cent, their largest one-day jump in more than five months.

Closing quote — essential comment before you go

An employee poses for a photograph at the Sirius Minerals test drilling station on the North Yorkshire Moors near Whitby, northern England July 5, 2013. Sirius Minerals, is planning one of the world's largest potash mines in response to booming global demand for the crop fertilizer, within the North York Moors National Park boundaries. "There's a huge amount of paper work to deal with. Everyone's watching; there's pressure on both sides," operations director Graham Clarke told Reuters at the drill site near the coastal town of Whitby, where a large red rig pierces a clear summer sky. Photograph taken on July 5, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY ENVIRONMENT) - LM1E97G0RVT01

Relentless optimism is a must-have when seeking finance for mining projects — particularly one as ambitious as Sirius Minerals. That was never more so than on Monday after Sirius boss Chris Fraser came back to the market with a reworked financing proposal with the zeal of a Duracell bunny.

Michael Moritz
Uber started as a red-blooded (many would say raw meat-eating) enterprise. But now for politicians, goaded by taxi companies, the public transit operators, and complaints about urban congestion, it is the new bogeyman in town. Read the full column

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