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PRESS: AJ Bell founder to join Applied Nutrition ahead of IPO - Sky

20th Feb 2024 15:10

(Alliance News) - Supplements maker Applied Nutrition, plotting a London stock market float, is to add AJ Bell PLC founder Andy Bell as its chair, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

Bell is to take the helm of a fast-growing sports nutrition, health and wellness brand as it speeds towards a London listing, according to reports.

His appointment is understood to have been ratified at a board meeting on Tuesday, Sky News said.

Sky said it would Bell's first role since leaving the company he founded, with sources saying that he had already acquired a shareholding in Liverpool-based Applied Nutrition.

Sky cited City insiders who said that Bell's appointment would make an initial public offering of the 10-year-old company more credible, but cautioned that there was no certainty that one would take place.

Deutsche Numis, the investment bank, has been hired to advise on the potential for a float.

Sky News reported that a source said a mooted GBP1 billion valuation for the company was "highly speculative" and likely to be lower at the point of an IPO.

The IPO, if it happens, could be one of two within the sports nutrition sector in short succession.

Speculation has been rife that THG PLC might spin off its Myprotein nutrition arm, possibly in the US.

In December, activist investor Kelso Group Holdings PLC reiterated its call for a demerger, which the shareholder believes will help close the "disparity" between the e-commerce firm's share price and its true value.

Kelso pointed to the fact that the company's larger global peers in nutrition and beauty trade on chunkier valuation multiples than THG does.

To resolve this disparity, Kelso has pushed for a demerger. This would "allow each part of the business better access to capital to deliver further growth and build upon their market leading positions".

Kelso cited Whitbread PLC's successful demerger of Costa Coffee in 2018 and GSK PLC's consumer healthcare business Haleon PLC in July 2021 as inspiration to draw on.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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