ZOOPLA fired the starting gun yesterday on a float that could value Britain’s second largest property website at around £1bn.
The stock market debut will trigger a windfall for Zoopla’s shareholders, including majority owner the Daily Mail & General Trust, Countrywide and its founder and chief executive Alex Chesterman, who will sell down their stakes in June to other institutional investors.
Zoopla, which attracts around 40m visits a month to its sites, said it was seeking a free float of at least 25 per cent, potentially raising £250m for shareholders. It will value Chesterman’s eight per cent at around £80m.
The 19,000 estate agents and developers who pay to list their homes on the site will also be allowed to buy shares at a 20 per cent discount to the offer price. The float will not raise any new money for the group.
Zoopla is the latest in a slew of companies to list their shares in London. However, after a strong start to the year a number of recently-floated firms are now trading below their issue price, raising concerns that the City’s appetite for new listings is waning.
Chesterman, who set up Zoopla in 2007 after co-founding DVD rental chain Lovefilm, shrugged off fears that the market has turned: “Every business that is thinking about [floating] is very different in the context of its sector, market proposition, growth rates and you have to look at business one by one.
“We have created a business that is very attractive to investors and where investors have wanted to get involved for a long time,” Chester-man added.
BEHIND THE DEAL
CREDIT SUISSE | GILLIAN SHELDON
1 Heading the Credit Suisse team is Gillian Sheldon, who is a managing director in the bank’s investment banking division.
2 Sheldon joined the bank after it bought BZW, Barclays’ investment banking arm, in 1997. She has advised on a raft of corporate finance dealings across media, publishing and technology.
3 Outside the day job, Sheldon has done a lot of philanthropic work and helped raise £1m for Breakthrough Breast Cancer last year. She is also a trustee of the BBC’s Children in Need.
Jefferies is joint global co-ordinator, sponsor and bookrunner alongside Credit Suisse, with a team led by chairman of corporate broking Paul Nicholls. Canaccord Genuity’s Roger Lambert and Piers Coombs are acting as co-lead managers on the deal. Zoopla’s financial PR team is led by Maitland.