CSFB gets Michael Page IPO away

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The US-Swiss bank was sponsor, global co-ordinator and sole bookrunner of the initial public offering, which is the biggest IPO on the LSE since Orange was floated in February. CSFB was also joint lead manager with Goldman Sachs. Deutsche Bank and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney were co-lead managers, and HSBC and WestLB Panmure were co-managers.

The issue price of 175p (€2.8) was 8% lower than the bottom of the indicative bookbuilding range of between 190p and 250p. A banker close to the deal said: &quotWe didn't officially come out and lower the range but given the tumble in the equity markets it was inevitable that price sensitivity was really high.&quot

Share allocation was evenly spread between the UK, the rest of Europe and the US. The banker said: &quotDemand was led by UK institutions. We saw a lot of interest from European institutions in the final days of the roadshow and the US came into it later.&quot

Michael Page sold 306.5 million shares to raise 536m (€864.9m). Shares opened at 175.5p and rose to 177.5 in early trading, before falling back to 176p, which gives the firm a market capitalisation of 660m.

&quotWe are seeing natural buying and selling at the moment as the banks are not having to support the shares. Trading is around 14 million shares, less than 4% of the shares laid out, while normal turnover is around 25% on the first day of an IPO,&quot the banker said.

The current flotation marks a return to the stock markets for Michael Page. The company first listed on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1983 and moved to the official list in 1988. USM was the market for small and medium sized companies on the LSE prior to Alternative Investment Market (Aim). In 1997 Spherion, a US professional services and consultancy provider, bought Michael Page for $577.6m (€616.77m) and the LSE listing was discontinued.

CSFB also managed the IPO of Michael Page's arch rival, Robert Walters, the UK recruitment consultancy, in July last year. On Wednesday its shares were trading at 155.5p, 8.5% below their issue price, giving the firm a market capitalisation of 127.9m.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100, the performance index of the largest companies on the LSE, has fallen 4.6% in the current month, and 9.3% in the year to date, to stand at 5,643.7 on Wednesday.

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