Zoopla Property Group, owner of real estate websites Zoopla and PrimeLocation, plans an initial stock sale that will allow controlling shareholder Daily Mail and General Trust Plc to profit from a surging U.K. housing market.
Zoopla intends to list on the London stock exchange, Daily Mail, which owns 52.6 percent stake of the unit, said in a statement today. No new shares will be issued and at least 25 percent of the company will be publicly traded. Daily Mail will probably remain the largest stockholder, Zoopla Chief Executive Officer Alex Chesterman said on a conference call.
Zoopla, which was merged with Daily Mail’s property division in 2012, had a record 39.9 million average monthly visits to its websites in the six months through March, as it benefits from greater home sales and a bigger audience. The U.K. housing market is getting a boost from low borrowing costs and government incentives as well as an improving economy.
“We have a strong growth story and have become a leading player in an industry with high barriers to success,” Chesterman said.
The CEO declined to say how much Zoopla is worth. The Sunday Times reported May 18 that Zoopla was targeting a 1 billion-pound ($1.7 billion) valuation in the IPO.
Daily Mail rose as much as 6.8 percent, the steepest increase in 3 1/2 months, trading 6.2 percent higher at 886.5 pence at 9:08 a.m. in London. The publisher has a market value of 3.3 billion pounds.
Owners of Foxtons Group Plc, a U.K. real estate broker, raised 390 million pounds in an IPO in September. Deutsche Telekom AG agreed in November to sell 70 percent of its Scout24 unit, which includes a real-estate portal, to Hellman & Friedman LLC for about $2.1 billion.
The Zoopla and PrimeLocation websites let users search for property to rent or buy, find brokers and compare rental and sale prices in different towns. Customers can search for a home based on commute time, and can also get advice on decoration or buying in France.
The company, which started operating in 2008 and earns money from monthly subscriptions to list properties, will remain focused on the U.K., which isn’t yet experiencing a housing bubble outside of London, Chesterman said. Zoopla seeks to attract customers with added services and may expand to other markets, he added.
The company reported 38.3 million pounds in revenue in the six months through March, up 26 percent from a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 26 percent to 18.7 million pounds.
Almost 2,000 IPOs have been announced in the 12 months before today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s an increase of 39 percent from a year ago. European IPOs have increased 8 percent in the period.
Separately, Daily Mail said today it agreed to sell its Jobsite platform to StepStone, the job-searching platform controlled by Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer AG.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Blackman