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BC Partners begins talks with banks over Foxtons IPO

21 Mar 2013

Foxtons estate agentEuropean buyout giant BC Partners is reportedly eyeing an IPO of UK estate agency Foxtons in the wake of Oaktree Capital-backed peer Countrywide’s successful listing earlier this week.

The firm has held talks with bankers about a listing according to the FT, which said the firm was yet to appoint a bank and had not finalised a decision about the IPO.

BC first bought into Foxtons for £360m in 2007, but was forced to cede control to lenders three years later in the midst of a property crash which left the business reeling.

The firm later admitted the deal was a “mistake”, but kept a holding in the business by injecting an extra £50m and regained majority ownership last year.

Countrwide, the UK’s largest estate agency by revenue, raised £200m in its IPO on Wednesday after offering its shares at 350p each.

That listing valued the business at £750m, and reflected a resurgence in the UK housing market despite ongoing problems in the wider economy.

London-based BC Partners hits its €6.5bn hard cap for its latest fund 12 months ago in a standout fundraise among European buyout houses struggling to collect capital.

The oversubscribed BC European Capital IX (BCEC IX) vehicle attracted existing and new investors leading to a 60 per cent increase in the firm’s investor base, a fund size 14 per cent larger than its predecessor.

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