A one-week public offering of 5 million shares in "Cats" composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group theatrical company received "a lukewarm reception," according to the Financial Times of London.
Michael Campbell Bowling, a London securities dealer, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that "from Webber's point of view (the offering) was obviously a great success because it worked and they got what they wanted."
But response indicated that potential buyers may have had some reservations about buying into what one observer called a "one-man band." The Financial Times reported that the public offering was oversubscribed 1 1/2 times, with 17,000 applications for shares. (A public offering in November, 1985, of 46.5 million shares in the fashion and furnishings group of the late fabric designer Laura Ashley was oversubscribed 34 times, according to the paper. Investors put up $3 billion at $2 per share.)
The initial offering price for a Really Useful Group share was set at 3.3 (about $4.75 at current exchange rates), according to Barry Dargan, an executive at Phillips & Drew stockbrokers. The minimum tender price per share when the offering went public Jan. 7 was 3.2 (about $4.60 ).