Legal funder Vannin eyes €1bn float

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
One of Britain's biggest litigation funders is poised to exploit booming investor appetite for the sector by hiring bankers to pursue a public listing that could value it at close to ?1bn.
Sky News has learnt that Vannin Capital, which was set up in 2010, is working with Evercore, the advisory firm, on its plans to float on the London Stock Exchange later this year.
‎Sources said this weekend that the company was close to hiring Barclays and Jefferies to lead an initial public offering, which they said would put a price-tag on Vannin of "well over €500m".The company, which was founded by Dan Craddock, who remains its chairman, is likely to be positioned as a "mini-Burford" - a reference to Burford Capital, another litigation funder which has seen its shares soar over the last 12 months.Burford, which now has a market value of just over €3bn, is among the firms which have seen money pouring into the financing of third-party legal claims, from which they keep a big chunk of any awards.Interest in the sector has been fuelled by a deluge of post-financial crisis legal actions brought by shareholders of bailed-out banks such as Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland.Cases funded by Vannin include a compensation claim on behalf of British lorry-drivers who were allegedly overcharged for their vehicles by a cartel of manufacturers.In 2016, Vannin secured backing from the hedge fund Fortress Investment Group, and says it has a "quantum under management consistently in the billions".
The precise timing‎ of a Vannin IPO is likely to depend upon broader market conditions, while it is expected to seek to raise a "substantial sum" from the sale of new shares.Speaking to The Times‎ earlier this year, Vannin's chief executive, Richard Hextall, said the room for explosive growth in the third-party litigation funding market made a public listing a sensible route to explore."We believe the litigation spend in our markets - the UK, Australia and the US - to be around $20bn, but third-party funding is only 1-to-3% of that, so there is a lot of room for growth," he told the newspaper.Mr Hextall, a former insurance executive, defended the litigation funding industry from criticism that its motivation to generate returns for investors risked the pursuit of cases for which the legal basis was questionable."We are not whipping up litigation ‎for the sake of it," he told The Times.
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"We are helping people get proper access to justice."Vannin could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
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