News Column

Zoopla's shares are moving to a new £1bn home

May 23, 2014


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," Chesterman 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.

Also advising...

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'sRoger Lambert and Piers Coombs are acting as co-lead managers on the deal. Zoopla's financial PR team is led by Maitland.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: City A.M. (UK)

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