British estate agent Foxtons hires banks to run float -source

LONDON, June 6 Thu Jun 6, 2013 12:54pm EDT

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - Private equity-backed British estate agent Foxtons has hired three banks to run a planned London stock market listing, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The move follows the successful London stock market debut earlier this year of Countrywide Holdings, Britain's largest estate agency by revenue, whose shares are trading more than 35 percent above their listing price.

Private equity group BC Partners, the majority owner of Foxtons, has appointed Credit Suisse, Canaccord Genuity and Numis Securities to run the share sale, said the source, who declined to be named, as it looks to take advantage of London's buoyant housing market.

BC Partners and Foxtons declined to comment.

Data from mortgage lender Nationwide last month showed British house prices rose in May at their fastest annual rate since November 2011, buoyed by a Bank of England initiative to reduce the cost of credit.

House prices in London have been particularly resilient, supported by international demand, with the market seen as a safe haven at a time of uncertainty in the euro area.

The British government's "Help to Buy" scheme, unveiled in its March budget, which offers home-buyers subsidised mortgages is also helping boost the market.

BC Partners has had a chequered history with Foxtons - which has 42 offices, mainly in London - since first buying it in 2007.

The estate agency chain came to epitomise the woes of the private equity industry as plummeting sales pushed it into breach of the terms on its debt, as the credit crisis deepened.

BC ceded control of Foxtons to its lenders in 2010, before taking majority ownership again last year.

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