DEBENHAMS’ FRESH FLOAT: British mid-market department store chain Debenhams launched its initial public offering Thursday on the London Stock Exchange. The stock debuted at 1.95 pounds, or $3.60, the very bottom end of its set price range. That was due to investors’ fears of the stock being too expensive compared with fellow retailers such as Marks & Spencer, and general doubts about ambitious plans for store expansion. Shares closed at 2 pounds, or $3.70. At the issue price, the store will have a market capitalization of 1.68 billion pounds, or $3.1 billion. The IPO includes 314.6 million new shares issued by the company, raising about 700 million pounds, or $1.3 billion, which will be used to pay down costs and reduce the company’s debt to about 1.2 billion pounds, or $2.22 billion. Debenhams’ financial backers, CVC Capital Partners and Texas Pacific Group, purchased the store at the end of 2003, when they took the retailer private.

ADIDAS ADDS AGENCY: Adidas Group said its worldwide media agency, Carat, will now handle the worldwide planning and buying of media for the Adidas and Reebok brands. Reebok had been using OMD in Europe and a few agencies in the U.S. Adidas has been steadily consolidating back-office functions between its core Adidas Group and Reebok, which it purchased for $3.8 billion in February.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.