Barclays Private Equity sells 13 million shares in LSL for £27m
BPE generates overall return of over 13 times on investment
Barclays Private Equity, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces that it has sold its remaining 12.6% stake totalling approximately 13m shares in LSL Property Services plc (“LSL” or “the Company”), one of the leading residential property services companies in the UK, at a price of 208p, realising proceeds of £27m. Proceeds following LSL’s IPO in 2006 total over £140m, representing a return of over 13 times on Barclays Private Equity’s original investment in 2004.
Barclays Private Equity originally backed the MBO of LSL, comprising e.surv and Your Move, in July 2004 from Norwich Union (now Aviva) for a total consideration of £42.5m. In 2005, LSL acquired Reeds Rains, the largest independent estate agency in the North of England to create the UK’s third largest national estate agency chain with over 400 branches. This enabled the Company to float on the London Stock Exchange in November 2006 with an initial market capitalisation of £211m.
Today, LSL provides a broad range of property-related services including residential property valuations and surveys, estate agency, lettings, asset management and financial services to its customers – principally mortgage lenders, as well as buyers and sellers of residential properties. It operates under leading brand names such as e.surv, Chancellors Associates and Barnwoods (surveying); Your Move and Reeds Rains (estate agency); St Trinity (asset management) as well as Linear and First Complete (financial services).
In January 2010, LSL completed the acquisition of Halifax Estate Agencies Ltd creating the second largest estate agency business in the UK.
Since the IPO, the performance of LSL has been extremely robust despite challenging conditions in the UK housing market. In the six months to 30 June 2010, the Company reported a 56% increase in like-for-like underlying operating profit to £17.0m (2009: £10.9m) on like-for-like turnover up 22% to £90.2m.
This realisation follows a number of successful exits for BPE during 2010 including the recent sale of Schneider to Silverfleet Capital; of GHD to IK Investment Partners and of FirstAssist Services to Capita plc. In March, BPE also sold Deb Group to Charterhouse Capital Partners for £325m generating a money multiple of nearly 6 times on its original investment.
Phil Griesbach, Director at Barclays Private Equity, who led the investment in LSL, said:
“LSL has continued to perform well following its IPO, evidenced by its recent interim results. The Company has continued to grow market share and has successfully capitalised on industry consolidation opportunities, most recently, through its acquisition of Halifax Estate Agencies.
“BPE is selling its remaining shares in LSL, having held these for four years post-float. We have generated a great return for our investors and are confident that LSL’s excellent management team will continue to successfully grow the business.”
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