HSF and Linklaters ordered in for £700m Just Eat IPO

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Linklaters are advising on Just Eat’s £700m initial public offering (IPO), the latest in a wave of new listings in London so far this year.

Yesterday (17 March), online takeaway company Just Eat announced its intention to list around £100m of shares either on the Financial Conduct Authority’s premium listing segment, or the high growth segment of the main market.

HSF has landed the lead role for the issuer, with corporate partner Christopher Haynes leading a team alongside global head of capital markets Steve Thierbach, who is providing US law advice alongside associates Bridget Castle and Jessica He.

The firm is working alongside Lovells-trained general counsel and commercial projects director Jeffrey Eneberi, who joined the company in 2010 after seven years as a legal counsel at Shell.

Although HSF has previously advised Just Eat on competition matters, the mandate is the firm’s first major corporate instruction, and follows its headline role on AO World’s £1.2bn IPO last month, when Haynes also advised.

Meanwhile, Linklaters has been instructed by chief underwriters Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Securities, with capital markets and corporate partner Iain Wagstaff and associate Niamh Liddy advising on English law alongside London-based partner Mike Bienenfeld and associate Megan Schellinger, who are providing US law advice.

Just Eat is the world’s largest online takeaway service, operating in 13 markets including the UK, Denmark, France, Canada, Ireland and Spain. Last year saw revenues grow 61.9% to £96.8m.

The last few weeks has seen a flurry of IPO activity in London, with plans to list announced by Pets at Home and Poundland. Other retailers, including House of Fraser and Fat Face, are expected to float later in the year. The trend has come as a boon for capital markets teams looking to win lucrative mandates in London.

“Two years ago, people wrote lots of articles saying the IPO market in London was broken,” Nicholas Holmes, head of equity capital markets at Ashurst told Legal Week last month. “But, at heart, what had broken down was confidence between buyers and sellers.

“What we needed was a few good deals. A lot of owners had been looking for an exit and there was money for them; there was increased risk appetite.”