British sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger is apparently ready to serve up an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in a rumour that has been brewing for a while. The firm, famous for using fresh fruit and vegetables in its menus, hopes that a float in the Big Apple would boost its profile and continue its expansion in the States.
The coffee market on the other side of the pond is steeped in revenue, with an estimated value of $41bn (£32bn) – around 13 times larger than that of the UK – something that has no doubt bean a huge driving force behind this potential IPO.
Several reputable sauces, including the FT and Bloomberg, state that any IPO would count JP Morgan and Jefferies as lead advisers, with Barclays, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley also lending their considerable experience to the float.
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Currently a sweeping success in the UK, where the company ground out an impressive 16% increase in sales last year, Pret already boasts 74 stores in the US, its secondary market. It is also spilling over into other countries, such as France and Hong Kong, but it is the US that offers the greatest appetite for potential growth.
It's the more health-conscious consumer that is Pret's bread and butter, with many drawn in by the chain's generous helping of vegetarian options. In fact, the company has always prided itself in being at the vanguard of healthy food trends, playing its part in bringing avocado and quinoa to the masses, and hopes this will differentiate it from the established players that are the staple in the US, such as Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.
Founded in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe – also of Itsu fame – and his friend Sinclair Beecham, the company was acquired in 2008 by private-equity firm Bridgepoint, which would expect to retain a steak stake in Pret even after an IPO. A spokesperson from the firm did little to quash the rumour, stating that 'as a committed shareholder in Pret we are always exploring appropriate opportunities to ensure the future growth of the company' and promising that they would update the market if 'such opportunities materialise'.
The firm would hope to wrap up the IPO before the end of 2017.
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