Virgin Money Said to Price IPO at Low End of Range

Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc, the lender backed by billionaire Richard Branson, plans to price its initial public offering at the lower end of its range, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The shares are being sold for 283 pence to 333 pence, giving Virgin Money a market value of 1.25 billion pounds ($2 billion) to 1.45 billion pounds, according to the terms of the deal. The sale closes today and trading will begin tomorrow.

While the sale was fully subscribed within a day of opening, the low pricing reflects caution in a quarter where at least five IPOs in Europe have been postponed or withdrawn amid a stock-market sell off. Virgin Money and Aldermore Group Plc. delayed sales in October.

Virgin Money said on Nov. 4 it would resume the IPO after the Bank of England announced lower-than-expected minimum regulatory ratios for banks, prompting a surge in shares of British banks. The U.K. lender, which had a 3.8 percent leverage ratio as of June 30, already exceeds the BOE measure.

“We welcome the clarity provided by the Financial Policy Committee on the leverage ratio,” Chief Executive Officer Jayne-Anne Gadhia said in a statement on Nov. 4.

The sale will see WL Ross & Co., the investment manager run by U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross, and the company’s management sell shares to institutional investors, the lender said when it first announced the IPO on Oct. 2. Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are leading the sale.

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