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Warner Music leads New York float revival

Chris Johnston
Dua Lipa

Warner Music will on Wednesday become the first big company to list in New York since the coronavirus pandemic struck, kickstarting a revival in stock market floats.

The company - one of the world's big three recorded music groups - is set to price its shares at the upper end of the $23 to $26 range.

A total of 70m shares will be sold when Warner goes public on Nasdaq, equal to about 14pc of the company. The fundraising will net some $1.8bn and value Warner at about $13bn (£10.2bn).

It is second time lucky for Warner, which had planned to go public in February before pressing pause on the plans due to coronavirus uncertainty.

The firm's artists include Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Cardi B. It has about $3bn of debt.

British-American billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik paid $3.3bn for Warner in 2011, buying it from Canadian whisky tycoon Edgar Bronfman and a group of private equity investors who in turn purchased the business from Time Warner in 2004 for $2.6bn.

Warner Music posted a net loss of $74m in the three months to March 31, down from a profit of $67m for the same period last year.

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Marketing data company ZoomInfo is also expected to list in New York on Thursday with shares priced at between $19 and $20, up from the original $16 to $18 range.

Markets have begun to recover after the Covid crisis brought floats to a virtual halt over the past two months.

Other listings on Wall Street this week include medical firms Legend Biotech and Pliant Therapeutics, which has increased the number of shares on offer from 6m to 9m following high demand.

Almost $3bn is expected to be raised, making it the biggest week of the year for US flotations according to  data firm Dealogic.

Last week JDE Peet, the coffee company whose brands include Douwe Egberts and Kenco, raised €2.2bn (£2bn) in what was Europe’s biggest listing since 2018. The shares were priced at the upper end of the €30 to €32.25 range and jumped to more than €37 after trading began in Amsterdam.