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Beckham to Buffett, Small IPOs Using Big Names to Sell Shares

  • Niche companies lever famous associations to entice investors
  • Europe’s IPOs have been a tougher sell amid shaky stock market
A woman stands outside the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on March 23, 2020.
A woman stands outside the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on March 23, 2020.Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

What do retired soccer star David Beckham, chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen and billionaire investor Warren Buffett have in common? Their expertise is being touted in marketing small initial public offerings in Europe.

Beckham-backed Guild Esports Plc said Tuesday it raised 20 million pounds ($25.6 million) in a London listing, buoyed by the rising popularity of online games. The stock will start trading on Friday, one of at least five European IPOs in the gaming sector to take advantage of booming business from people staying indoors to curb the coronavirus outbreak.