Investcorp part-owned Leejam Sports picks Samba Capital for IPO -sources

Saudi Arabian sports and fitness business Leejam Sports Co is to hire Samba Capital to advise it on a stock market flotation in the kingdom, sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

  
By Hadeel Al Sayegh and David French

DUBAI, May 11 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian sports and fitness business Leejam Sports Co is to hire Samba Capital to advise it on a stock market flotation in the kingdom, sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

While no mandate has been signed yet, two sources said the investment banking arm of Samba Financial Group 1090.SE has been told that it will be awarded the contract to list around 30 percent of the firm.

Much of the shares put up for sale will likely to come from Bahraini alternative investment firm Investcorp INVB.BH , according to the two sources plus a further source.

Investcorp, which acquired a 25 percent stake in the firm in 2013, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. A spokesman for Leejam Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Leejam, established in 2007 by chairman Abdulmohsen al-Haqbani, operates 120 locations across Saudi Arabia and Dubai under the brand name Fitness Time, according to its website.

The sources were unclear on when the initial public offering would take place or how much the company would be looking to raise from the sale.

Investcorp also owns part of Saudi gold and jewellery maker L'azurde, which was granted approval this week to go public by the stock market regulator in an offering set to be concluded in mid-June. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nD5N15N026

Private equity investors have been heavily targeting retail businesses in Saudi Arabia in recent years, seeking to tap into the increasing wealth of a population which is 70 percent under 30 years old.

Shareholders of Saudi rival fitness chain Bodymasters received initial interest from four potential buyers ahead of a potential 500 million riyal ($133.3 million) sale later this year, sources told Reuters in January. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N14V1SV

The sector has begun to show signs of suffering though as the impact of lower oil prices on the kingdom's economy feeds through into consumer spending: retail names predominantly posted big profit drops in the first quarter. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N17Z45O

($1 = 3.7501 riyals)

(Editing by David Evans) ((Hadeel.AlSayegh@thomsonreuters.com; +971566883310;))





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