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Foxtons shuts US real estate operations-reports

NEW YORK, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Foxtons, a New York City-area discount real estate broker once known for selling homes with 2 percent commissions, is closing because of the slumping housing market, according to published reports.

The privately held company, which is based in West Long Branch, New Jersey, is laying off 350 of its 380 workers and may file for bankruptcy, the Asbury Park Press and Newsday said on Thursday.

John Blomquist, the company’s general counsel, in a statement said Foxtons has been “battling against a real estate market that recently has turned into a sharp decline, and the company no longer has the liquidity to operate as a going concern,” the newspapers said.

Blomquist did not immediately return calls for comment.

Foxtons said it opened U.S. operations in 2000. It became known for charging customers 2 percent commissions on home sales, even as many other brokers charged the traditional 6 percent.

Foxtons Ltd, one of the largest British real estate agents, was acquired in May by private equity firm BC Partners for about 390 million pounds (about US$790 million), but the transaction excluded the U.S. business. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel)