AIM specialists wary of links with pornography group’s imminent float

Technology and media floats may be coming back into fashion, with Wolfson Microelectronics blazing the trail (The Lawyer, 22 September), but the appetite among the UK’s leading AIM specialists for handling the prospective flotation of pornography business Private Media Group (PMG) appears flaccid at best.

PMG is exploring the viability of a London float later this year, 18 months after its Neuer Market listing was pulled at the last minute. Shearman & Sterling advised Commerzbank on the German deal, while PMG instructed its regular Los Angeles counsel Guzik & Associates.

No UK firm is believed to have been appointed by the adult entertainment business as yet, although there were reports last week that it had appointed a nomad. PMG refused to confirm this.

Finding a lawyer willing to take on PMG as a client may be more problematic. Lesley Gregory, an AIM specialist partner at Memery Crystal, said it was not appropriate to comment as she was not familiar with PMG. She said: “But if you are asking me hypothetically whether or not we would act, I would say that on balance it is likely to be something that reputationally we would not look to do.”

AIM analyst Lawrence Marsh of market maker Winterflood Securities, who attended a roadshow last year for the planned Neuer Market float, added: “I couldn’t imagine too many fund managers would want to have it as one of their funds.” However, Marsh admitted that if the company could show it had “a sustainable business model” and was likely to be profitable, it was likely it would be acceptable to AIM.

PMG shares are listed on Nasdaq following its February 1999 float. Figures released in June 2003 showed that sales had increased for three consecutive quarters.