B2B Sales

Deliveroo shares have plummeted on its stock market debut after a number of major UK investors expressed concerns about its gig economy worker model. Shares in the food delivery business had been offered to investors at 390p each, but dived in early London trading to 275p at one stage, a 30% fall.

The company had initially hoped for a share price of up to 460p. But in recent weeks a number of high-profile fund managers said they would not be buying the shares.

Shares later recovered some earlier losses to trade down about 10%. The Deliveroo share sale is London’s biggest stock market launch for a decade and the sharp fall on its first day of trading is a blow to the UK’s ambitions to persuade more big tech companies to list in the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in March the listing of the Amazon-backed company was a “true British tech success story” that could clear the way for more initial public offerings by fast-growing technology firms.

“Deliveroo has gone from hero to zero as the much-hyped stock market debut falls flat on its face,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Initially there was a lot of fanfare about the Amazon-backed company making its shares available to the public, including the ability for customers to buy stock. Sadly, the narrative took a turn for the worst when multiple fund managers came out and said they wouldn’t back the business due to concerns about working practices.”

Deliveroo, which has not yet made a profit, said on Monday it had chosen to “price responsibly” and sell its shares at the bottom of its planned price range at 390p due to “volatile” market conditions.

Some of the UK’s biggest investment fund managers, including Aberdeen Standard, Aviva Investors, BMO Global, charity fund manager CCLA, Legal and General Investment Management and M&G said recently they would not buy shares in Deliveroo, citing concerns over including the working conditions of its riders and lack of investor power.

Founder Will Shu will have shares that give him 20-times the voting power of other investors. Chief executive Will Shu said he was “very proud” that Deliveroo was listing in London.

“In this next phase of our journey as a public company we will continue to invest in the innovations that help restaurants and grocers to grow their businesses, to bring customers more choice than ever before, and to provide riders with more work,” he added.

Deliveroo’s self-employed drivers have seen a boom in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing food from restaurants to housebound customers. Initially, Deliveroo hoped to see that value as high as £8.8bn, based on a share price of 390-460p. It scaled that back to £7.6bn, but the share price drop wiped £2.28bn off that.

The firm is making a portion of its stock available for customers, with delivery riders and restaurant partners also able to buy shares. Deliveroo is selling just over one-fifth of the group, while institutional investing trading started on Wednesday, the general public can start trading in its shares from 7 April.

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