Foxtons’ float to land bosses £100m windfall

Kasmira Jefford
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LONDON estate agency Foxtons is poised to make a move onto the London Stock Exchange that could land its senior management team a £100m windfall.

The company, which was founded more than 30 years ago in Notting Hill, is expected to announce today its intention to pursue a public flotation that could value the business at £400m to £500m.

This could mean a £100m payout for Foxton’s senior management, led by chief executive Michael Brown, who reportedly own around 20 per cent of the company.

A successful listing would also be a remarkable feat for its majority owner BC Partners – whose ill-timed swoop on the property firm in 2007 left it nursing extensive debts after the housing market crash.

The private equity group bought the chain for about £390m at the height of the buyout boom in March 2007, making an estimated £300m for founder Jon Hunt.

It was then seized by lenders Bank of America and Mizuho in 2010 in a debt-for-equity swap after breaching its bank covenants.

BC Partners managed to keep a minority stake by injecting £50m and eventually regained control last year.

Accounts filed last month show that Mizuho and Bank of America received a £32m dividend as part of a final payment for their interest in the business.

The proposed listing comes just months after rival Countrywide returned to the London stock market and is another vote of confidence in the recovery of the housing market.

Foxtons, which has 42 offices in and around London, has also seen trading steadily improve and posted record underlying earnings of £37.9m in the year to 31 December.

Sales were up 2.8 per cent to £117.7m, with over half of revenues generated by its lettings business compared with a third in 2007.

Credit Suisse, Canaccord Genuity, and Numis Securities were hired in June to oversee the listing. Foxtons and BC Partners declined to comment.