EUROP@WEB SETS IPOS IN PARIS, AMSTERDAM
PARIS — Europ@Web, the wide-ranging Internet investment vehicle of luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault, will seek a dual public offering on the Paris Bourse and the Amsterdam stock exchange in June.
According to a published report, the offering could place Europ@Web’s value between $3.6 billion and $5.4 billion. The listing is being led by Lazard Freres and Credit Suisse First Boston. A spokesman for luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, of which Arnault is the chairman, declined to comment.
Arnault launched Europ@Web last year and gave the company some $500 million in funds to invest in Internet startups, software concerns and other related companies.
With the launches of luxury portal eluxury.com and of financial services portal Ze Bank later this spring, Europ@Web will become an operator on the Web.
Europ@Web has been viewed as a probable initial public offering (IPO) candidate, by Arnault and others since its formation last July. That possibility moved closer to reality last month, when sources said an IPO could be completed by yearend.
All told, Europ@Web has taken stakes, mainly minority positions, in some 50 Internet firms.
These wide-ranging holdings include a 38 percent stake in free access provider Liberty Surf, which went public on the Paris Bourse in March; a minority stake in alafolie.com, the first European wedding planning site; a 30 percent stake in Moonfruit.com, a site that enables users to build online communities; and numerous stakes in arts and auction sites such as aucland.com, a French auction site, and artprice.com, a database of art auction information.
It also has investments in Boo.com, Ashford.com, Oxygen Media and a number of publicly held Internet companies, including eBay, Cisco and Excite@home.
Europ@Web serves as the Internet investment arm for the Arnault family holding company, Groupe Arnault.