Business publisher Ascential (formerly Emap) plans stock market listing to raise £200m

Business publisher and events group Ascential has confirmed plans to list on the stock market in a move that could reportedly value it at more than £800 million.

The firm, which changed its name from Top Right last month, plans to raise £200 million from its initial public offering, which it would use to pay down some of its £400m debt.

Ascential is owned by private equity group Apax and the owner of the Guardian and Observer, Guardian Media Group (GMG).

Formerly also known as Emap, the group has a range of assets including magazines Drapers and Architects' Journal, as well as events such as the Cannes Lions advertising festival and global fashion trend forecasting service WGSN.

Duncan Painter, chief executive of Ascential, said the flotation was an "exciting and logical" next step for the group.

He added: "As a team we have created an industry leading company for informing and connecting business professionals across our exhibitions, festivals and information services products."

The group has appointed Rightmove chairman Scott Forbes as it chairman ahead of the listing.

It marks a return to the stock market for the firm, with the then Emap listed until March 2008, when it was bought by Apax and GMG for around £1 billion.

The firm was renamed Top Right in 2012, then rebranded as Ascential last month.

Based in London, Ascential has offices in 14 countries and more than 1,500 employees.

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