Linklaters loses millions in fees as new media clients delay IPOs

Linklaters & Alliance is emerging as the major casualty in a spate of postponed internet IPOs – losing an estimated £1m in fees.

The firm is acting as adviser on two out of the four major IPOs which have been delayed in the second quarter of this year.

These include Yes TV, which planned a £560m float, and the postponed £700m IPO of Biomni, a joint venture between Computacenter and Computasoft.

The firm had a near miss with Telecity, which postponed its £566m float until last month. Linklaters acted for Goldman Sachs, the financial adviser on the deal.

Sources say that clients can expect Linklaters to charge at least £500,000 in fees on a medium-sized IPO. But this can rise to over £1.5m, which the firm charged when it acted for, which floated in March this year.

The firm has been one of the frontrunners in carving out a niche in the emerging technology sector, earning some £15m in fees for 1999.

During last year it charged more than £5m in fees when it advised Dixons on the flotation of its internet service provider (ISP) Freeserve.

Linklaters is the only UK magic circle firm to take equity as part-payment in place of fees.

However, the value of any equity stakes will have taken a battering as internet stocks have fallen out of favour.

The second quarter of this year began badly, following the drop in share value of and the recent insolvency of

Charlie Jacobs, co-head of Linklaters’ internet and e-commerce group, says “There has been a slowdown in the technology sector.”

But he adds: “Things have been starting up again in July. We have been acting for [new media company] Zen Research, and the banks say that the market is warming up.”

Jacobs says that he expects more positive movement by September; while disputing that the firm has lost money on delayed IPOs.

He says:”I think we take a slightly different view. If there has been a slowdown a deal will require more work and there will be larger fees futher down the line.