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General Atlantic, a private equity group known for backing fast-growing technology companies such as Alibaba, Facebook and ByteDance, has filed confidentially to pursue an initial public offering, putting it in a position to eventually join peers Blackstone and KKR as a public company.
The New York-based group, which manages $77bn in assets, has filed confidential paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the public offering, two people familiar with the matter said, but they described that move as a preliminary step and said General Atlantic was not considering an imminent listing.
The confidential filing positions General Atlantic to move forward with a listing if it feels confident that market conditions for new offerings have improved, these people said. They cautioned, though, that any such decision could be a year away or more, and that the firm may decide not to go public.
A confidential filing involves submitting a preliminary version of the IPO prospectus, allowing a company to start discussions with regulators without publicly revealing any financial information, so it can be ready to list more quickly if it decides to go ahead.
General Atlantic declined to comment. Bloomberg earlier reported on the filing of IPO paperwork.
General Atlantic has long considered a public listing as one way to broaden its investment operations beyond private equity investments. In April, it acquired credit manager Iron Park as it expanded into investments benefiting from higher interest rates. It also recently seeded the creation of Clipway, an investment manager focused on buying out stakes in private equity funds.
Competitors such as Blackstone, KKR and Apollo Global, which listed their shares around the 2008 financial crisis, used their public stock to help finance acquisitions to expand into managing credit and insurance assets. TPG, which went public in 2022, recently used its stock to help finance the $2.7bn purchase of credit manager Angelo Gordon.
General Atlantic has been considered part of a new generation of private equity firms that could follow those names in going public. However, one of that group, CVC, last month postponed its plans to go public until next year because of market uncertainty, the Financial Times reported.
The US listings market has been quiet for the past two years, with IPO candidates and investors put off by falling valuations, rising interest rates and poor performance among other recently listed companies. However, several high-profile IPO candidates have recently made confidential filings including online retailer Shein and bakery chain Panera Brands.
Publicly listed private equity groups have also been a bright spot in public markets.
Groups including KKR, Apollo and Ares have recently hit record highs, while Blackstone was recently included in the S&P 500 index. TPG on Monday hit a new post-IPO high, bolstered by investors’ rising enthusiasm for private capital groups.
Additional reporting by Nicholas Megaw and Will Louch