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Online retailer places recruitment ad for chief financial officer, "IPO experience an advantage"...

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.

12 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know much about stocks. But that will mean they will have to focus alot of turnover and making profits for their shareholders?

Meaning, it could lead to less deals and sale, more prices staying around RRP or there abouts?  39

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tao24 [74 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

I don't know much about stocks. But that will mean they will have to focus alot of turnover and making profits for their shareholders?

Meaning, it could lead to less deals and sale, more prices staying around RRP or there abouts?  39

I doubt it's current owners would be happy with Wiggle making minimal profits, as they have a lot of money sunk into the business even if they aren't publicly traded shares. I suspect the front end changes will be fairly minimal, as Wiggle makes it's money by being cheap with relatively speedy service.

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monkeytrousers [99 posts] 2 years ago
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Just because a company becomes a PLC, it won't stop them having offers and deals.

I think you'll find that even shareholders will want them to shift gear…..see what I did there!

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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tao24 wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:

I don't know much about stocks. But that will mean they will have to focus alot of turnover and making profits for their shareholders?

Meaning, it could lead to less deals and sale, more prices staying around RRP or there abouts?  39

I doubt it's current owners would be happy with Wiggle making minimal profits, as they have a lot of money sunk into the business even if they aren't publicly traded shares. I suspect the front end changes will be fairly minimal, as Wiggle makes it's money by being cheap with relatively speedy service.

Of course the current owners want to make money and there is no doubt they are. But having more people in the shares, means the profits pot gets split more. So surely they need to be pulling in more profits

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DeanF316 [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Wiggle are not cheap unless you buy the clearance items. I suspect the current owner who paid far too much for the business have no option but to float the business to get their money back they have borrowed. This was their intention from day one. They need to do it before the new biker bubble bursts.

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Gordy748 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Amazon makes a good bit of money being cheap, and its stock is quite valuable, so I don't see why a stock flotation would affect Wiggle's business model. That said, if one entity buys up the stock then that will probably cause a change.

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Gordy748 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Amazon makes a good bit of money being cheap, and its stock is quite valuable, so I don't see why a stock flotation would affect Wiggle's business model. That said, if one entity buys up the stock then that will probably cause a change.

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Beefy [376 posts] 2 years ago
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My experience of wiggle over the past few years is that of steadily declining customer service. This is discussed on many sites. It would appear to have worsened since they were sold. If floated I think service will worsen even more as overheads are reduced to a minimum. It seems the company is more interested in expanding new customers, less interested in loyalty to current customers.

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Beefy [376 posts] 2 years ago
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My experience of wiggle over the past few years is that of steadily declining customer service. This is discussed on many sites. It would appear to have worsened since they were sold. If floated I think service will worsen even more as overheads are reduced to a minimum. It seems the company is more interested in expanding new customers, less interested in loyalty to current customers.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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When you are small its easy to give great customer service, as you grow it becomes much harder, I can think of a lot more large companies that have rubbish customer service then great customer service, in fact I can only think of First Direct as large company with great service.

Floating will have no effect on most of the comments listed here, when they were bought the new owners would of already had a plan to float to be able to release their investment out of the company, yes they will have to pay dividends, but the floatation capital should also see them expand and therefore they will generate profit from renegotiating their contracts with their suppliers in terms of volume discounts and supplier agreed discounts (like 2 for 1 offers which are normally backed by the suppliers).

Really this can be a good thing for all of us and not bad.

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harman_mogul [222 posts] 2 years ago
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I thought the founder was a former hedgie?

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dacorr [6 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't forget the sweets, they are usually the first thing out of the box!!!