British estate agent makes $1.3bn market debut
London, September 21, 2013
British estate agent Foxtons enjoyed a strong stock market debut yesterday as its value rose to more than £778 million ($1.25 billion) in early trading, despite some concerns that its core property market might be overheating.
Foxtons said it had sold a 60 per cent stake for 230 pence per share, the upper end of its 190 pence to 230 pence per share range, and giving the company a valuation of £649m.
Its shares opened 20pc above the offer price.
London-focused Foxtons is the latest housing-related company to float on the back of Britain's recovering housing market, following nationwide agency Countrywide and housebuilder Crest Nicholson earlier this year.
Both have seen their share prices rise more than 50pc since going public, but some investors last week said they thought that Foxtons was coming late to the party and too exposed to London.
Foxtons, which last year got more than half of its revenues from its lettings business, is focused on expansion within London, home to 40 of its 42 branches, and has said it is aiming for five to 10 new branch openings a year between 2014 and 2018.
Foxtons' share offering, which was oversubscribed, raised £335m for selling shareholders, including majority owner BC Partners, the private equity group, and company employees.
The company also raised £55 million from selling new shares to reduce debt.-Reuters