Zoopla considers '£1bn' float plan

KeyboardProperty website Zoopla is reportedly considering a stock market float that could value it at more than £1 billion.

Founder Alex Chesterman could net a fortune of more than £100 million from the share sale after starting the company six years ago, according to the Sunday Times.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
It comes amid City speculation about a raft of potential flotations amid burgeoning signs of economic optimism, including an improving property market buoyed by Government initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme.

Last month estate agency chain Foxtons confirmed it was planning to cash in on surging London house prices with a public offering of shares that is expected to earn directors a windfall of up to £100 million.

A Zoopla spokesman said: "As one of the fastest growing online businesses in the UK, our focus is on continuing to develop our brands and business in a sustainable way.

"We work with various advisers and have recently engaged Credit Suisse to help us explore further strategic opportunities as we continue to grow."

According to the Sunday Times, a float was considered the most likely option amid estimates valuing the fast-expanding company at £1 to £1.3 billion.

Such a valuation would result in a large paper fortune for Mr Chesterman, 43, who retains a 9% stake in the business he founded in 2007.

It would represent his second windfall after Amazon's £200 million takeover of film rental firm Lovefilm two years ago, the Sunday Times reported.

Sources close to Zoopla stressed that a stock market float was just one of a number of options that would be considered.

It was reported that Daily Mail & General Trust would retain a majority stake if the company did decide to go public.

Zoopla describes itself as one of the fastest-growing websites in the UK with more than 20 million visits per month.

The site was originally set up to provide an instant valuation for any property in the UK but has since bulked up via a merger with Digital Property Group, home of the Prime Location and Findaproperty.

Last week it bought another set of property websites from publisher Trinity Mirror.

Mr Chesterman has reported to have said he would leave "no stone unturned" until Zoopla had overtaken rivals Rightmove as the leading property website.

Elsewhere, there was renewed speculation about a stock market flotation for Legoland and Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments.

According to the Sunday Telegraph it was planning to offer more than 10% of shares to retail investors as it geared up for a £3 billion-plus listing before Christmas. A spokeswoman declined to comment.

5 PHOTOS
Five of the most fascinating companies
See Gallery
Zoopla considers '£1bn' float plan

Not many companies have films made about them. But the story of social networking site Facebook attracted enough attention to interest Hollywood, resulting in the 2010 film The Social Network. The interest was not just due to the immense popularity of the Facebook website, which was created in its earliest form by Harvard University student Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, though. It was also a result of the legal wrangling between Zuckerburg and fellow Harvard students Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the social networking site ConnectU and accused Zuckerberg - who worked for them before creating Facebook - of copying their ideas and coding. In something of a damp squib ending, however, the case was dismissed due to a technicality in March 2007 without a ruling being made.

Most of the companies on this list are household names. However, comparatively few people have heard of Olam International, despite it being one of the world's largest agricultural commodity companies.

In fact, it produces enough cotton to keep everyone in the world in socks (three pairs per person, per year).

Fans of chocolate bars such as Mars are also sure to have consumed chocolate made from beans handled by Olam - they just don't realise it.

Headquartered in Singapore, Olam was founded in 1989. It now purchases ingredients such as coffee and cocoa from around 3.5 million smallholder famers based in emerging markets around the world. This enables it to work with communities in rural Africa and Asia on everything from productivity to environmental impact, resulting in a potentially huge impact on some of the world's poorest people.

Love them or hate them, Starbucks coffee shops are everywhere nowadays. Hardly surprising when you consider that the company has opened an average of two stores a day since 1987 (despite having to close some locations down too).
However, back in 1971 there was just one Starbucks coffee shop, in Seattle, Washington.
Named after Starbuck, the first mate on the whaling ship in the novel Moby Dick, the shop originally sold roasted coffee, but did not brew coffee to sell.
Now, though, you can get everything from a blueberry muffin to a mocha frappuccino from your local Starbucks store.

According to the company the white ribbon was introduced under the name in 1969. When competitors first entered the market, Coke made much of its curved bottle design which distinguished it from those that followed. As fewer and fewer people drank from bottles, the ribbon was produced as an alternative distinctive curve.

According to mokokoma, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There is some question as to whether the bite taken out of it is a play on the word byte, symbolism of the fruit being eaten and the knowledge imparted, or just to make it look more like an apple and less like a cherry tomato.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS