Institutionals line up for Française des Jeux IPO

On the 11/25/19 at 7:51AM


Thibaud Vadjoux

FdJ, which originally was set up to assist war veterans, now counts two new veterans associations join its historical shareholders after its IPO. Institutionals were especially big participants.
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After the initial public offering of Française des Jeux (FdJ), veterans associations have upped their overall stake. According to our sources, two veterans pensions and insurance mutual funds are now shareholders. France Mutualiste is investing almost €9m for 450,000 FdJ shares. CARAC, another association, paid about €7m for 360,000 shares. The issue price for institutional investors was set in the upper end of the indicative range, at €19.90.

Veterans associations are also becoming shareholders. Les Ailes Brisées, an affiliate of the Union des Blessés de la Face et de la Tête (UBFT), also known as “Les Gueules Cassées”, invested €7m for 360,000 shares; the Association des Mutilés de Guerre des Yeux et des Oreilles (AMGYO) paid €2m for 105,000 shares; and the Union Fédérale spent €830,000 for 42,000 shares.

These newcomers will solidify FdJ’s historic core of veteran group shareholders. UBFT invested €21.9m for 1.1m shares, vs. the 1.9m it had requested. This nonetheless amounts to 57% of its requested allotment, vs. 11% on average for other major institutional investors. Another long-standing shareholder, the Fédération Nationale André Maginot (FNAM) acquired 60,000 shares for €1.2m. The two shareholders each get seat on FdJ’s new board of directors. They will be filled by Olivier Roussel, head of UBFT, and Henri Lacaille, president of FNAM.

UBFT’s stake in FdJ thus rises from 9.23% to 9.8% following the privatisation. Altogether, veterans groups now hold almost 15% of FdJ’s shares.

Institutionals buy €1.1bn in FdJ shares

Post-IPO, the French state hold onto 20% of the shares, down from 52% previously. Retail investors own more than 21% if they hold onto all their shares for 18 months. The employees’ stake will rise to 7%.

Other French and non-French institutional investors own 28% of the shares, when factoring in the greenshoe option. They acquired 56% of the 99,320,000 shares the French state sold at a cost of €1.1bn (with a greenshoe option). Demand for shares was “considerable” from both institutional investors with €10bn requested and from retail investors at €1.6bn, said Bruno Le Maire, French finance minister, on Thursday, the day of the IPO.

The French state sold a total of €1,888bn in shares but will actually receive €2.1bn, including a €380m balancing payment from FdJ in exchange for a 25-year monopoly on lotteries and sports betting in its brick-and-mortar network.

FdJ shares soared 14% on their opening day of trading, to €22.70.

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