Report: BC Partners bring in bankers for Foxtons

Foxtons, the UK estate agency owned by global buyout group BC Partners, is having a tough time amid the housing market slowdown. Investment bankers from NM Rothschild are reportedly being asked to advise on a refinancing of the company’s £250m debt package.

BC Partners, the global buyout firm, will this week instruct bankers from NM Rothschild in London to carry out a review of its portfolio company, UK-based estate agency Foxtons.

The review is to focus on refinancing the firm’s debt package of more than £250 million (€314 million; $459 million), although other restructuring measures, such as job losses and branch closures, have not been ruled out, according to a report in UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Foxtons: suffering from
the slowdown

The debt package, which was provided by Bank of America and Japanese firm Mizuho, is understood to cost £26 million per year to service, the report said.

BC Partners acquired Foxtons Group, which consists of estate agency Foxtons and mortgage broker Alexander Hill, for around £400 million in June 2007, shortly before the sub-prime crisis sent the UK property market into a tailspin.

To buy Foxtons, BC Partners beat Boston-based TA Associates and global buyout firm 3i in a six-month auction. At the time of the deal, it was reported that Jon Hunt, who founded Foxtons in 1981, walked away from the deal with £388 million for his 97 percent stake in the UK business.

BC Partners declined to comment on the refinancing. NM Rothschild was unavailable.