Majority owner Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) said Zoopla's
existing owners planned to sell shares in June to institutional
investors and the estate agents who pay to list properties on its
Zoopla, which was launched in 2008, trails Rightmove in the online
property sector, drawing more than 40 million visits a month to its
websites and mobile applications, compared with about 80 million
visits for its larger rival.
It joins a rush of companies seeking to join the London market and
follows recent listings by online groups AO World and Just Eat and
property agent Foxtons last year.
Founder and CEO Alex Chesterman told reporters that Zoopla plans to
launch additional products and services after the share sale, with a
move into the commercial property market penned for this year and
possible overseas expansion in the future.
"We have a very strong growth story," Chesterman said. "We've built
a leading market proposition in an industry with high barriers to
success. Ninety percent of all properties for sale or to rent are
advertised on our platform."
Any listing is likely to be lifted by the strong sentiment around
the British housing market, particularly in London, where
prices have surged 17 percent in the 12 months to March, pushed up
by cash-rich foreign investors.
The company makes 86 percent of its revenue from the subscription
fees paid by estate agents to list their properties, with the rest
coming from advertising and the sale of research data.
The move is not without risk, however. Shares in AO World and Just
Eat are down by more than 40 percent and 25 percent respectively
since they joined the market this year, while other listings have
slipped as investors have turned more selective.
Chesterman declined to predict how much the sale would raise, but
analysts said the move to have a free float of around 25 percent is
likely to value the group at more than 1 billion pounds.
UBS said the listing could value the company at about 1.2 billion
pounds ($2 billion), while analysts at Liberum value DMGT's 52.6
percent stake at 575 million pounds.
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By comparison, Rightmove has a market capitalisation of more than
2.3 billion pounds and its share price has risen by 235 percent in
the past four years, lifted by the recovering economy and housing
Media group DMGT, the publisher of Britain's Daily Mail and
MailOnline, is set to remain Zoopla's largest shareholder. An
overallotment option of up to 15 percent of the total offer will be
Other shareholders include Chesterman and estate agent and property
services group Countrywide.
Zoopla reported six-month revenue to March 31 of 38.3 million
pounds. Adjusted core earnings were 18.7 million pounds, up from
14.8 million pounds a year earlier, having suffered a full-year loss
of 0.6 million pounds as recently as 2011.
DMGT announced the market listing as it posted half-year operating
profit up 21 percent on an underlying basis, helped by price rises
for its newspaper and tight cost control.
Shares in the group, which said its forecasts remained unchanged for
the year, were up 8.9 percent in mid-morning trade, giving it a
market value of 3.2 billion pounds.
The group also sold certain small assets including recruitment
portal Jobsite. It said the disposals were expected to raise about
150 million pounds, raising hopes of money being returned to
(Editing by David Goodman)
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