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Global Blue prepares for possible 1 billion euro IPO this year - sources

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By Abhinav Ramnarayan and Oliver Hirt

LONDON/ZURICH (Reuters) – Shopping tax refund firm Global Blue is preparing for a possible 1 billion euro initial public offering in Amsterdam this year as investors show renewed signs of interest in new listings, four sources familiar with the matter said.

The Switzerland-based firm, which relies mainly on Chinese, Middle Eastern and Russian tourists who use its network to purchase luxury goods tax free, first began talks with investors about a possible IPO some 18 months ago.

It has now appointed Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan as global coordinators and Credit Suisse as a bookrunner as it prepares for a listing on the Amsterdam stock exchange, the sources told Reuters.

The European IPO market has seen an uptick in recent weeks, after volumes of stock market flotations fell to their lowest level in seven years at the end of the third quarter.

German tech company TeamViewer and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners raised 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion) between them through IPOs in September, while France’s Verallia and Switzerland’s SoftwareOne are marketing sizeable deals.

“In the case of most successful deals in this tricky environment, vendors have met with investors early in the process and met them often,” one of the sources said.

“Global Blue has the right kind of profile and size to interest the market in current conditions. It is a deal that can go quite soon – possibly this year,” he added.

A second banking source said that the owners had been looking for a trade buyer, but couldn’t reach an agreement on price, and were therefore trying the IPO track again.

Controlling shareholder Silver Lake, which invests in tech firms, is expected to sell shares worth about 1 billion euros, with a targeted valuation of more than 4 billion euros.

Silver Lake, Global Blue, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse all declined to comment.

Global Blue has been backed by private equity investors for the past nine years, with Silver Lake and Partners Group being the latest funds to come onboard in 2012.

The company has drawn interest from Asian buyers seeking access to European markets, sources have previously said.

(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling and Arno Schuetze, editing by Sinead Cruise and Alexander Smith)

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