The founder of white goods retailer Appliances Online, who set up the business following a pounds 1 bet in a pub, is likely to scoop pounds 400m in cash and shares when the business floats next month.
AO, as the internet-only retailer is now known, is expected to be valued at pounds 1bn - more than three times the valuation placed on it by analysts recently.
The firm is at the head of a queue of as many as 15 British retailers expected to float this year, with a total valuation of around pounds 8bn. Convenience store retailer McColl's confirmed plans for an initial public offering last week, while
AO has signed up
The kitchen appliance website, which was founded in 2000 by Roberts, wants to raise around pounds 60m from issuing new shares, while existing shareholders, led by Roberts and his management team, will also sell stock.
Roberts said: "We are recognised as a stand-out competitor within the IPO queue. We are not the product of a private equity deal. We are not taking profits and running for the hills or refinancing our balance sheet to pay off debts. I'm not going anywhere and there is passion and energy in this business. It is like my sixth child."
The new funds raised will go towards enhancing the online retailer's services, extending from washing machines, fridges and cookers into new markets such as TVs and small electrical appliances, as well as expansion into
AO's finance director,
AO has had a significant impact on the
While city investors are keen to get their hands on another fast growing internet retailer, independent retail analyst
"White goods are low-margin products compared with fashion, and it's hard to see that the business can ever make that much money, despite its excellent customer service reputation," he said.
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