Australian online conveyancing firm PEXA drops 4% in market debut

July 1 (Reuters) - Shares of online conveyancing firm PEXA Group opened at A$17 in their market debut, below their initial public offering price of A$17.13, fetching a valuation of A$3.01 billion ($2.25 billion) in Australia’s biggest listing this year.

The stock fell as much as 4.3% to A$16.40 minutes after its debut on Thursday and was trading down 3% at A$16.64 by 0327 GMT.

PEXA handles about 80% of digital property settlements in Australia, where property prices have soared thanks to record-low borrowing rates and government incentives.

That stranglehold the company has on the Australian market has attracted multiple buyout offers, including from private equity firm KKR & Co. Its largest shareholder, Link Administration Holdings, also fielded multiple takeover bids.

Link will hold a 42.8% stake in PEXA, emerging with A$180 million in net proceeds after the IPO. Commonwealth Bank of Australia can raise its stake to 29%, while Morgan Stanley will sell its 40% stake.

Earlier on Thursday, PEXA reported a more than 48% jump in fourth-quarter transaction volumes and said it had faced an outage on Wednesday that prevented users from logging in for nearly two hours, which was later resolved.

PEXA, which plans to enter Britain as early as next year, had also issued a replacement prospectus in which it noted that its ambition to expand overseas was based on its experience in the domestic market.

$1 = 1.3358 Australian dollars Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel