Britain's biggest estate agent, Countrywide, has received a fresh takeover approach, just two weeks after the failure of a 3i-backed management buyout.
Countrywide, which runs 1,200 estate agent offices, did not say who made this latest approach but it is believed to be in talks with the US buyout group Apollo Management.
The mooted offer is understood to be in the region of 600p a share, which would value Countrywide at around £1bn. The shares jumped 6.5% to 569.5p on the news.
Two weeks ago shareholders rejected a £971m management buyout plan, backed by the private equiry firm 3i.
Opposition was led by US hedge fund Artisan Partners, France's Boussard & Gavaudan Asset Management and Standard Life Investments, which together own about 15% of Countrywide.
Countrywide said today the new approach was not linked to that buyout plan, to 3i or any of its executive directors.
Bridgewell analyst Katrina Preston said: "US investors are typically more willing to look through the property cycle and Apollo may be prepared to pay a premium at what is arguably the top of the market."
Apollo recently bought the US estate agent Realogy.
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