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By Pamela Barbaglia
LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - CVC Capital Partners co-Chairman Steve Koltes will step down this year as Europe's biggest buyout firm prepares for a stock market listing that a source familiar with the matter told Reuters could value it at more than 20 billion euros ($22 billion).
Koltes, who co-founded CVC in 1993 as a spinout from Citibank, will leave in October "to focus on his private interests," the firm said in a statement. He will remain on CVC's board in a non-executive capacity.
CVC recently lined up banks to work on an initial public offering (IPO), following in the footsteps of rival funds including Bridgepoint Group and TPG which recently floated after decades in private hands.
In preparation for the IPO, CVC brought in outside capital in September when it sold a stake of roughly 10% to investment firm Blue Owl Capital Inc in a deal that valued the company at 15 billion euros ($16.7 billion).
That valuation could surge beyond 20 billion euros in the upcoming listing, considering the strong market debuts of rival firms, the source said.
CVC is looking to go public in the second half of the year with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley working on the plan. It may opt to float on the London Stock Exchange, although a final decision on the listing venue has yet to be made, the source said.
After Kotles's departure, co-Chairmen Donald Mackenzie and Rolly van Rappard - who worked closely with him in the early 1990s to establish CVC when it was still known as Citicorp Venture Capital London - will continue with the firm.
The pair praised Koltes for his "wisdom and determination" in transforming the firm into a global private equity powerhouse invested in more than 100 companies worldwide.
CVC, with $125 billion of assets under management, has been one of the most active investors during the pandemic, buying Unilever's tea business for 4.5 billion euros in November and then clinching a 1.9 billion euro deal to invest in Spain's top soccer league in December.
The firm is well known in the world of sports having backed both Formula One and the Six Nations rugby tournament.
It is also one of the bidders in talks for a stake worth some 1.5 billion euros in the French soccer league's media rights business, four sources told Reuters in December.
($1 = 0.8974 euros) (Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London and Amna Karimi in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and David Holmes)