Could the owners of Wiggle be planning a stockmarket flotation of the online cycling, running and swimming retailer?
That’s the rumour in the City of London after Wiggle placed a recruitment advert for a chief financial officer in the Financial Times last week, in which it said “IPO [initial public offering] experience would be an advantage.”
The advert added that the successful candidate would have an understanding of the “dynamics of operating in a private equity-backed business.”
It would not be the first time that Wiggle, which sponsors road.cc's Fantasy Cycling game, had explored the possibility of seeking a stockmarket listing.
In 2011, chief executive Humphrey Cobbold, described a flotation as a “serious option.”
It was one that then owners, Isis Partners, chose not to pursue, with Wiggle sold in December 2011 to fellow private equity firm, Bridgepoint Capital, in a deal valuing the business at £180 million.
Bridgepoint said that no decision had been made regarding a flotation with a spokesman telling Financial News: “We would naturally look for IPO experience in our CFO in order to keep our options open about the potential capital structure of the business in future.
“However, the board has made no decision about this nor has it appointed any advisers on the subject.”
The website added that according to an unnamed source, Wiggle’s current chief financial officer, Jim Buckle, will leave the company.
Founded in 1999 with capital outlay of just £2,000, Wiggle had turnover of £140.8 million in the year to 5 February 2013.
The company's growth has in part been driven by the cycling boom in the UK but it now derives most of its turnover from abroad.
During the year, visits to its websites around the world totalled 70 million and 2 million customers placed orders.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.