Oaktree lines up UK estate agency Countrywide for IPO - FT

Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:37pm EST

Jan 18 (Reuters) - Oaktree Capital Group LLC is in talks with banks, including Goldman Sachs, to line up an initial public offering for Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agency, the Financial Times reported.

The IPO, which could happen this year, would be one of the most important listings in the UK real estate sector since the collapse of the property market in 2008, the newspaper said.

Countrywide, which employs about 10,500 people in the United Kingdom, was bought out in 2009 in a debt-for-equity swap by a team led by Oaktree - now its largest shareholder.

Other buyers in the team included Apollo Global Management LLC, Alchemy Special Opportunities and hedge fund Polygon Management LP.

It was unclear how much of the business would be listed if the IPO were to go ahead, the business newspaper said.

None of the companies could be immediately reached by Reuters for comment.

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