Virgin Trains USA postpones IPO
Report indicates investors balked at share price
Virgin Trains USA, the new name for Brightline, has postponed its IPO.
Reuter’s International Financial Review reported that investors were interested in a deal that was priced around $12 a share, but earlier plans called for $17 to $19 a share.
“As we explored a public offering, a number of alternative financing sources became available that allow us to keep the company private and meet our growth strategies,” Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the rail company said in an email to Bloomberg.
One challenge for Virgin Trains USA is that it is the first U.S. private high-speed rail system, which makes it impossible for investors to find a similar venture with a proven track record. The rail service has trains from Miami to West Palm Beach and is working on an extension to Orlando and then Tampa. The company is also looking at other U.S. markets.
The Virgin Trains USA IPO, a 17 percent stake in the company, would have been the biggest so far this year in the U.S. at up to $538 million. The IPO market has been weak amid the trade war with China and drama over government shutdowns.
Fortress and Virgin Group would have remained majority shareholders in a deal that would have valued Virgin Trains USA at up to $3.15 billion.
What exactly the company’s alternative financial sources are was not detailed, but it has deep-pocketed, well-connected owners. Fortress Investments had $42.1 billion in investments as of Sept. 30. Fortress is in turn owned by Japan’s Softbank, the fourth largest publicly traded company in Japan.