Marcello Ausenda. *Photo supplied
Marcello Ausenda. *Photo supplied

An oversubscribed listing on the NASDAQ by a Bermuda-incorporated company is a shot in the arm for the Island and a vote of confidence for its reputation as a well regulated and sound jurisdiction, according to a partner at a leading law firm.

Yesterday (WEDNESDAY JUNE 18) Markit, a leading provider of financial information services, saw its shares priced at the middle of the range at US$24. In all 53,472,353 shares were sold by selling shareholders for a total of approximately US$1.3 billion.

The IPO, the fourth largest in the US this year, values the enterprise at almost US$4.5 billion.

Conyers Dill & Pearman Limited advised on the listing and corporate department partner Marcello Ausenda said: "We worked closely with Markit's lawyers in New York and London to understand the needs of the client and its shareholders.

“In the end they chose Bermuda because of our credible corporate laws, our effective court and judicial system and the sterling reputation of Bermuda as a well regulated and sound jurisdiction with a long track-record.”

Markit is a leading global diversified provider of financial information services and its customers include banks, hedge funds, asset managers, central banks, regulators, auditors, fund administrators and insurance companies. It employs more than 3,000 people in ten countries.

The company made a conscious decision to choose Bermuda as its preferred jurisdiction for its listing company following an extensive analysis of other jurisdictions. Markit concluded that the Island offered the best combination of sound corporate law and investor appeal, said Mr Ausenda.

He added: "The listing of Markit on the NASDAQ is a great shot in the arm for Bermuda. Markit will join other Bermuda companies like Third Point Reinsurance, Essent Ltd. and GasLog Ltd. who have listed on the principal US exchanges (including NASDAQ and the NYSE) over the past 18 months. There are now around 60 Bermuda entities listed on the US's most important stock exchanges.”

“We have a number of other listings of Bermuda companies in the pipeline and we expect this list to grow significantly in the coming months.

"Our view is that new listings like Markit are a bellwether of the resurgence of client confidence and investor appetite for Bermuda companies and Bermuda corporate law advice.

“It is no coincidence that an increased number of high-profile Bermuda company IPOs has coincided with the increase in the number of Bermuda company incorporations generally.

“Incorporations for 2013 were 12 percent higher than the previous year and the Government recently announced that the number of companies incorporating in Bermuda in the first quarter of this year were 17 percent higher than the same quarter of 2013." 

He added: “Corporate clients and investors have a renewed confidence in Bermuda as a jurisdiction of choice for premium transactions. This is encouraging news for all of us.”

The listing of Markit Ltd. is a significant development for Bermuda. It is the largest listing in terms of shares sold and market capitalization for a Bermuda public company in recent years.

Conyers advised Markit on all aspects of the IPO working alongside Davis Polk & Wardwell, Ashurst, Proskauer and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The Conyers team included Mr Ausenda along with Niel Jones as lead corporate associate, Chiara Nannini and Robert Alexander.

The firm has advised on transactions involving Bermuda companies worth literally billions of dollars in Q4 of last year and 2014 to date and Mr Ausenda said the principal US stock exchanges represented a key market for Bermuda.

“We have advised on the IPOs of more than 50 percent of the Bermuda companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

“Every time we advise on these big-ticket transactions, Bermuda’s name gets mentioned which enhances the profile and credibility of the jurisdiction. Blue-chip clients who choose Bermuda enhance our reputation because Bermuda is used and seen in the context of words such as ‘best in class’, ‘expertise’, and ‘stability’.”