Blog: Leonie BarrieStock market falls out of fashion

Leonie Barrie | 24 January 2008

Public listings are no longer in vogue after Tommy Hilfiger’s private equity owners today pulled the plug on a EUR3bn flotation of the designer clothing brand. Citing volatile stock markets and concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending, Apax Partners postponed its plans until market conditions have “stabilised” – for which read “indefinitely.”

Tommy Hilfiger is the latest in a string of companies that have delayed or withdrawn plans for initial public offerings in recent weeks – but it is the first fashion firm to do so. And its decision obviously throws doubt on other planned share sales, most notably those by Italian fashion brands Prada Holding NV and Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, which were being mooted for the first half of this year.

The banks working on Tommy Hilfiger’s flotation – Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Fortis – have been testing the market's appetite for the company’s shares this week. But they couldn’t have picked a worse time if they’d tried: stock markets are at their most volatile for five years amid ongoing concerns that the US economy is heading into a recession and bank losses linked to the subprime mortgage crisis are spreading. And companies associated with high street retailers are seen as among the most vulnerable of all when it comes to a consumer spending slowdown. 

Apax abandons Tommy Hilfiger IPO


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