The Lure Of Privacy

When share prices sag, a growing number of European managers are choosing to take their publicly held firms out of the markets

After 12 years as a public company, business-travel agency Hogg Robinson recently booked a novel trip for itself: a one-way flight out of the London Stock Exchange. CEO David Radcliffe led a $450 million management buyout of the firm, a move he saw as the best solution to an increasingly common dilemma. Though Hogg Robinson was profitable--it had revenues of $2.63 billion last year--its share price had slumped because investors considered the company too small to offer "exciting double-digit growth," as Radcliffe explains. With a depressed stock price, the company found it hard to grow and make acquisitions. So in May...

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