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Barclay family mulls £3bn Very Group float

Whilst a final decision on the flotation is ‘not thought to be imminent’, insiders noted that the move was now under ‘more serious contemplation’ than before

The Barclay family is reportedly eyeing up a £3bn float of online retailer Very Group, according to reports from Sky News

The billionaire family, who owns the business, is said to be in the early stages of exploring plans for the flotation in a bid to “capitalise on exploding investor interest in digitally led retailers”. 

Insiders told Sky that the move is now being considered following the death of Sir David Barclay last week, who built the private, family-run business empire alongside his brother, Sir Frederick Barclay. 

Whilst a final decision on the flotation is “not thought to be imminent”, insiders noted that the move was now under “more serious contemplation” than before. 

According to reports, UBS is likely to be involved in the process, but it is not yet known if Very’s board has formally appointed bankers to advise on pursuing a public listing. 

If the flotation goes ahead, it will mark the first time the Barclay empire has entered the public equity market. 

News of the potential flotation comes one week after Very reported its best recorded sales over a Christmas period to date, with a 25.2% year-on-year increase in retail sales in the seven weeks up to and including 25 December 2020.

The increase in sales was predominantly due to Covid-19 pushing retail online, as government lockdown restrictions continued to affect physical retail stores.

Henry Birch, CEO at The Very Group, said: “We are delighted with Very’s outstanding performance, which shows UK families were more determined than ever to celebrate this Christmas, despite all the challenges of 2020.

“Christmas shopping started early at Very and our committed team worked tirelessly to deliver for our customers. Continued appetite for entertaining the family and home improvement during the pandemic resulted in strong growth across our electrical and home categories, in particular.”

He added: “Our record-breaking performance was supported by our new fulfilment centre, which processed 3.9m orders during peak; an incredible achievement for a facility that only launched in March this year, when the first national lockdown was announced.

“While the economic picture remains unpredictable, we have strong momentum as we begin the year. I believe our resilient, flexible and proven business model, which is online, multi-category and offers customers flexible payment options, will continue to help us thrive in 2021.”

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