Linklaters and Freshfields win roles on Britvic’s £800m IPO

Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have reaffirmed their positions as market leaders for London Stock Exchange (LSE) listings after securing work on the £800m Britvic flotation.

The soft drinks company, whose brands include the UK licences to Pepsi and 7UP as well as Robinsons and Tango, announced it would proceed with the float on the LSE next month.

It is understood that Linklaters is advising Britvic, while Freshfields is advising Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, which are leading the IPO. Freshfields securities partner Simon Witty is leading the team on the flotation.

Both firms declined to comment on their roles. Linklaters, which has a longstanding relationship with Britvic’s biggest shareholder InterContinental Hotels, advised the company on the flotation of Britvic when the idea was first mooted in February 2004.

Britvic is expected to release a prospectus giving a price range for the IPO later this month.

The estimated £800m value of the company includes £300m of debt.

Three of Britvic’s four shareholders – InterContinental Hotels, Pernod Ricard and Whitbread – will sell their shares in the company as part of the IPO. PepsiCo, which invested in Britvic in 1987, will keep its 5 per cent stake.

Shareholders are encouraging the IPO while the UK equity market remains buoyant.

Similar to other soft drinks companies, Britvic, which was first established as the British Vitamin Products Company in the mid-19th century, has been focused on developing healthier drinks as consumer demand for sweet carbonated beverages has declined.

Britvic is the second biggest supplier of take-home soft drinks in the UK, after Coca-Cola Enterprises.