EasyProperty puts IPO on back burner after Tosca backing

“With Tosca on board, and they’re very keen to back us in a large way, there is really no need to rush to market,” Chief Executive Rob Ellice told Reuters.


“So, I think we will now delay our outlook to list, just because we don’t need to.”

Ellice, who remains the company’s largest shareholder, said the level of interest in the company was huge, especially with money coming in from places such as Monaco, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The placing could have been 10 times oversubscribed had easyProperty accepted 25 million pounds being offered by a large U.S.-based investor, he added.

The funding round came less than a week after peer Purplebricks Group Plc, backed by star fund manager Neil Woodford, said it had conditionally raised 58.1 million pounds ahead of its London debut.

The online estate agency market is booming, and according to the National Association of Realtors about 90 percent of Britons now search online before buying a house.

Shares in online estate portals Rightmove Plc and Zoopla Property Group Plc – together worth almost 5 billion pounds and catering to over 130 million visitors – have risen 76 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

EasyProperty offers private landlords, housing associations, investors and developers the ability to list and market their properties.

Ellice expects easyProperty to be worth more than a billion pounds within the next two or three years as the company expands overseas.

“We’re not up for sale at the moment … We are acquisitive and aggressive at the moment,” Ellice said.

EasyProperty, currently in hot pursuit of an agent in the UK for 7 million pounds, wants to buy niche estate agents worth 5-10 million pounds that cater to markets such as student housing.

The easyProperty brand is on lease for 20 years from Haji-Ioannou, better known as Stelios, founder of budget airline easyJet Plc.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)